Charity doesn't begin at home anymore
Thursday 19 June 1997
The charity confirmed yesterday that a spiralling demand for second-hand clothes and books by the booming charity-shop chains in the high street was forcing it to look overseas for its supplies.
Oxfam, which first set up high-street shops in the UK in 1948, is also planning to look for shops in out-of-town shopping centres - ironically silencing the complaints of estate agents and traders in many small towns where charity shops and discount chains are all that are left on the high street.
Ian Bray, Oxfam spokesman, said yesterday: "There is so much competition for donated goods now because the charity shops have just taken off.
"It is very much a British phenomenon. In Germany only commercial companies collect hand-me-down clothes and we see it as a way of finding more donated goods. We would favour Germany because we have a couple of shops there."
In the Nineties, the number of charity shops on the high street increased by two-thirds to over 5,000 and their turnover has doubled to almost pounds 300m a year, according to a report out this week by market research company Mintel.
Oxfam itself saw its sales in its 850 shops increase by 5 per cent last year to pounds 55m, earning the charity a profit of pounds 15m.
Oxfam considered looking overseas for its goods a few years ago but opted to increase the number of collections it made from homes using labelled plastic bags. "At first that boosted the number of clothes we were getting," said Mr Bray. "But now everyone is doing the same thing, everyone gets lots of those bags and the market is saturated." Oxfam also increased the number of goods it received by setting up clothes and book banks, but supplies from these have hit a plateau.
The decimation of Britain's high streets by the car and out-of-town- shopping centres is one factor that has led to the proliferation of charity shops paying lower rents and business rates but Oxfam is worried that it is being left behind by other retailers: "We may have to move out of town," said Mr Bray. "We have to look at what the retail market is doing."
Oxfam is also beating off competition from other charity shops, with bookshops in university towns and gift shops in tourist centres.
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Putin critic may have been murdered by Islamic extremists, says president-led committee
Stephen Hawking's wife Jane Wilde on their marriage breakdown: 'The family were left behind'
British are sexually uptight, dirty and drink too much – according to Spanish book
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...
£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...