Sales jump at Oxfam as austerity bites

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The Independent Online

Oxfam posted a 5 per cent jump in underlying sales over the final quarter of last year, laying bare pressure on household budgets in austerity Britain.

The increase was driven by the charity, which has 700 shops in the UK, enjoying some of its best figures for five years on categories, including books, homewares, clothing and music.

Andrew Horton, Oxfam's trading director, said: "December 2011 proved to be a bumper month compared with like-for-likes. In what has been a challenging year for retailers, for the NGO sector and for consumers – all feeling the effects of the continuing global economic crisis – we are pleased to report that Oxfam's trading income and donated sales continue to increase."

Oxfam delivered an 5 per cent rise in like-for-like sales over the 14 weeks to 31 December, while total revenues rose 11 per cent in the shorter, five-week period.

Mr Horton said: "Oxfam shops play a vital role – not only in the life of communities and high streets across the UK, but also in funding our development work."

Sales of books and homewares rose 19 per cent and 25 per cent respectively in the week to 24 December, Oxfam's best figures since 2006.