RSPCA to close all of its centrally run shops

Fourteen jobs will go in a move the charity says has been prompted by tough trading conditions and losses of £22,000

The RSPCA's shops in Richmond, which is due to close (Photograph: Google)
The RSPCA's shops in Richmond, which is due to close (Photograph: Google)

The RSPCA is to close all seven of its centrally run charity shops with the loss of 14 jobs, Third Sector has learned.

An RSPCA spokeswoman said high-street trading conditions were tough and a recent review discovered the seven shops lost £22,000 overall.

She said: "In this challenging financial climate we must consider the most effective way to fundraise for animals in need.

"We consulted employees and volunteers who work in these shops and would like to thank them for their hard work and understanding."

Five shops in Birmingham, one in London and one in Ringwood, Hampshire will shut by the end of the month.

The closures do not affect the RSPCA's 300-plus branch-run charity shops, which are managed independently and generate £7m profit a year.

The spokeswoman said two of the seven shops that are being closed were profitable.

"Charity shops are more expensive to run than other fundraising methods and we feel we can invest our money more effectively elsewhere," she added.

"It's a difficult economic climate and all high-street shops are facing challenges. The RSPCA does not have the size of portfolio to enjoy the essential economies of scale that mark out more successful charity shop chains."

Sixty-two volunteers will be affected by the closures, the spokeswoman said.

Supporters of the RSPCA shop in the London borough of Richmond, which is among those set to close, have expressed their displeasure on the store's Facebook page.

"I think this is terrible personally – this shop is more that just a charity shop," one wrote. "RSPCA shame on you!"

A source close to the shops told Third Sector: "The Birmingham shops are surrounded by other charity shops that are doing very well, so why have the RSPCA shops failed?"

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