Charity shop closures ahead of Christmas set to cost Mind £1.5m

The cost of national lockdowns ahead of Christmas to curb the Covid-19 pandemic is set to cost mental health charity Mind £1.5m in lost retail sales.

Despite efforts to move stock online, High street shop closures have made it difficult for the charity to raise money for festive shoppers.

Stores reopen in England from today (2 December) but that leaves only around three weeks of High Street shopping until Christmas.

“The festive period is particularly lucrative for High Street stores, and charity shops are no exception: Mind predict a loss of around £1.5 million in potential sales in November due to the lockdown,” said the charity.

It added that during November alone it lost £400,000 in income and the charities debt is growing to top up salaries of furloughed staff and having to pay shop rents.

“These costs, along with a smaller online presence than other retailers, has left the charity concerned,” said Mind.

It added that usually November and December make up around a fifth of Mind’s annual retail profit, which means the second national lockdown in England and Wales has cost the charity 10% of its income.

To offset the losses Mind is looking to bolster its online retail operation. This has seen its celebrity ambassador Fearne Cotton donate items to its online Christmas auction. It is also selling Christmas cards and calendars via its online stores.

“Despite the job retention scheme and the tireless efforts of Mind Retail staff and volunteers, we’re unfortunately in a difficult financial situation,” said Mind retail managing director Andrew Vale.

“This means we might not be able to support everyone who needs us this winter. We’re doing everything we can, now we need you to do everything you can, by shopping in Mind stores or online, in the final run up to Christmas.”

In October, accountants BDO warned that a boost to charity shop sales in the summer was likely to be eroded by further lockdown restrictions ahead of Christmas.

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