Jan 24, 2023
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UK charity shops buck retail trend, first-ever specialist gift card launched

Jan 24, 2023

In a sign secondhand shopping is becoming mainstream in 2023, charity shops are to issue a first-of-its-kind sustainable shopping gift card.

Reflecting what could become be the year of “the gift of thrift", according to the Charity Retail Association (CRA), the body is rolling out its Charity Shop Gift Card, becoming “the only single gift card that can be spent in multiple charity shops across the UK”.

Accepted in shops run by regional and national charities in most areas of the UK, “it will help to drive up charities’ retail income to fund their work and drive down the amount of waste sent to landfill”, the CRA said.

Importantly, “it will enable established sustainable shoppers to encourage their family and friends to make the shift to secondhand through the gift of thrift”, the body added.

It also presents the charity retail sector’s first collective opportunity to tap into the £7 billion-a-year gift card market, it added.

As a social enterprise, 65% of annual profits from sales of The Charity Shop Gift Card will go towards funding cards for good causes to donate to the communities they are supporting.

The Card, made from recycled materials, can be purchased at all participating shops as well as on the gift card racks at Sainsbury's, Tesco, Boots, Asda and WHSmith.

Robin Osterley, chief executive of the Charity Retail Association, said: “The Charity Shop Gift Card is a fantastic asset to the charity retail sector, maximising the growth in charity shop footfall and rise in interest in sustainable shopping which is showing no signs of slowing down.

“Shoppers are turning to charity shops to get the best value for their money and the gift card is making it easier than ever to share the joy of charity shopping with friends, family and colleagues this year.”

As the cost-of-living pressures tighten and an enthusiasm to shop more sustainably, sales at charity shops are bucking the high street trend by rising 11%, according to the CRA’s latest figures.

They also show a 10.8% year-on-year increase for in-store income at its member stores (July-September), with the average number of daily transactions up 11% from 64 to 71. Also, 64% of its member charities say the volume of donations has risen in line with increased demand.

CRA’s figures also show sales of goods at charity shops divert 339,000 tonnes of textiles alone from landfill every year and contribute £363 million towards the cost of research or the services they provide to people in their local communities.

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