The Rise of Charity Shops

sustainable fashion

The Rise of Charity Shops

2018 – the year where high-street retailers suffered. Yet for Birmingham-based John Taylor Hospice, it’s the year it not only opens its first charity shop but also expands to include three more! The success of John Taylor Hospice isn’t surprising. In spite of a declining retail sector, in January 2019 Charity Retail saw like for like growth circa 5.1%.


Today’s tech-savvy and conscious consumers look for value, sustainability and experience when shopping. Charity shops answer all three demands.


Charity shops are the ideal location when searching for value; especially as retailers, like M&S, become more sustainable and donate unsold stock to charities instead of burning/throwing them.


Consumers are increasingly aware of Fashion’s impact. Therefore, by fulfilling their shopping needs in charity shops instead of in conventional retail stores, they’re doing their bit for the environment.


Through in-store experience
Charity shops have quickly evolved over the last few years to ensure the consumer’s experience matches that of the high-street retailers. They too invest in visual merchandising, product display and ensure their stores offer the right vibe. In fact, a Facebook page Charity Shop Visual Merchandising & Display was created to celebrate such great executions.

Through high-quality products
The more high-quality products in store, the bigger the value. In addition, by curating such products, the store is able to create a shopping experience mimicking the conventional retail store. This is where labels play a crucial role. Emma Slade Edmonson*, Creative Strategist and Retail Consultant, explains: “with many charity retailers doing their best to attract a younger audience, labels help consumers know that you have the designer wear in store. This makes them feel that the shopping experience is ‘for them’, and that they can find the same unique, valuable pieces that they might find using an online platform such as depop.

Through social media
More and more fashionistas are sharing their #secondhandfinds on social media. As The Independent notices “online groups are revolutionising the second hand market, and sharing your finds has become somewhat of an addiction” . Charity Store shopping has therefore also become a trend – a trend which means that simply browsing in them is an experience in itself (like when entering a high-end store for fun).

So what?

Retailers are already picking up on this trend such as ASOS Marketplace who launched three online charity shop boutiques in partnership with Oxfam, Barnardo’s and TRAID. Harrods also piggy-backed on this trend by creating a pop-up shop in Marylebone for two months: Fashion Re-Told. The pop-up was made up of a number of new and pre-loved designer items such as Stella McCartney, Chloé, Self-Portrait, Rag & Bone and Calvin Klein womenswear, menswear, childrenswear and accessories at a reduced price. The money raised went to the charity: NSPCC.

* Special thank you to:
Emma Slade Edmondson – Strategic Retail Consultant and Creative Director

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