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Charity shops defence

Research shows High Street decline caused by fashion stores abandoning the area

  

THE latest report by think-tank Demos has revealed 50 per cent of Brits think there should be fewer charity shops on the High Street, with many associating them with decline.

British online marketplace OnBuy.com decided to investigate whether charity shops are really taking over the High Street or is it that fashion shops are abandoning it.
Walking the High Streets in London as well as using Google Maps and Google Street View to count charity shops, OnBuy.com noticed they feature in both affluent communities and less privileged neighbourhoods as well as popular shopping destinations.
And no unusually high numbers of charity shops were observed – in Camden Town, OnBuy counted just five out of a total 100-plus stores excluding coffee shops, restaurants, banks, hairstylists and similar service businesses, so they made up fewer than five per cent of the offer.
Similar numbers were also observed in Woolwich and Fulham with five each, while central Hackney had four, as do other inner London boroughs.
While the total number of shops on many High Streets was closer to 50 it still means charity shops only account for up to about 10 per cent and there was no significant difference observed in outer London boroughs where some areas, such as Ealing with three and two in Wembley, had an even lower count.
There were also exceptions such as Chipping Barnet where OnBuy counted as many as 10 charity shops on the High Street, making almost 20 per cent.
However, taken on just clothes shops the ratio changes dramatically. In some places, such as Borehamwood, Herts, charity shops were found to account for more than 80 per cent of all apparel shops but, as OnBuy counted only two other clothes shops they attributed this to the absence of traditional high street favourites. 

Based on their results and the recent reports of High Street clothes shops continuing to close, OnBuy.com concluded the High Street is being abandoned by popular fashion brands rather than taken over by charity shops.
As a result, charity shops are suffering a major injustice by being accused to be responsible for the decline of the High Street.
Allison Swaine-Hughes, retail operations director for British Heart Foundation who have 730 shops, said: “For millions of people, charity shops are an extremely important part of the High Street. We are occupying a retail space that might have otherwise been left empty, and we’re raising vital funds for BHF research to improve treatments for heart disease.
“But our impact is greater than that. Our shops are community hubs, offering health information to millions of people. We offer ample volunteering roles, which gives the local community the chance to develop new skills, build confidence and the ability to enhance their CV.
“Our BHF shops also prevent thousands of tonnes of unwanted goods going to landfill every year. Last year alone, we turned 65,000 tonnes of generously-donated items into £25million for our research.”


Images from www.onbuy.com


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