Recession boosts charity sales

A new report has announced that UK charity shops are enjoying record high sales figures. Annual income has been boosted by 34 per cent compared to last year, with charity shops income reaching an all-time high of almost £1 billion. While high street stores have been hit hard by the recession and suffered closures of many of their branches, charity shops have seen a surge in demand, and many are opening new stores. They have gained many new customers who are turning to bargain shopping because of the tough economic climate.

The report discovered that over a million new customers have turned to charity shopping. Mothers with young children, in particular, are some of the most popular customers as they rely on charity shops for cheaper second hand toys and clothes. One in four of those polled by the survey said they will be affected by the government’s decision to cut child benefits and that they have been depending on charity shops as a result. Over half the population said that they had bought something from a charity shop in the last year and the figures are expected to rise even further within the next year.

However, with more than 5,500 charity shops in the UK, many branches are struggling to receive enough donations to supply the increased demand. The report revealed that one in five of those surveyed choose to sell their clothes and unwanted household goods, rather than give them to charity. These goods can be worth millions to charities, and the Charity Retail Association (CRA) are urging people to continue to donate.

The success and growth of charity shops has drawn criticism from some high street chains. Charity shops are eligible for tax breaks which require them to pay only 20 per cent of business rates. Retail experts have suggested such tax breaks would benefit small business and encourage growth in the struggling retail sector.

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