Charity shops report record breaking return to trading

Charities have reported a strong return to trading for their High Street shops as lockdown restrictions on non-essential retail eased this week.

Among charities to report an increase in sales is Sense, which said Monday’s reopening broke its one day sales record.

The charity recorded what it calls an “incredible” 85% increase on its previous one day sales record, also set during the pandemic, in December last year,

More than 100 Sense shops opened across England and Wales, with high numbers of stock helping to attract shoppers, according to the charity.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support from our communities across the country,” said Sense director of trading Adrian Darkin.

“We’ve had huge numbers of people coming in to donate stock and buy goods, but they’re staying to talk to staff and reflect on what’s been happening over the year.

“It’s only the beginning of course, but to start in this fashion is a huge boost to our staff and volunteers who have had such a challenging 12-months, and have put everything into the reopening.”

Another to report a robust return to trading is the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which also reported its busiest ever day when it reopened on Monday.

BHF recorded more than £1m in sales on Monday, with furniture among items proving particularly popular among shoppers, said the charity.

‘We are absolutely thrilled that in our first day of reopening, our shops made an incredible £1 million in sales, breaking the previous record for a day’s retail trading,” said BHF retail director Allison Swaine-Hughes.

“We saw incredibly strong sales of furniture, as customers look to refresh their homes, and with Spring on the way, also look to update their wardrobes.”

She added: “We want to say a huge thank you to our shops teams, who have worked tirelessly to get back up and running across England and Wales this week, we couldn’t have done it without you. We are also hugely grateful to local communities who hit the high street to help support us, by shopping and donating - we are so happy to have you back.”

Among those to notice heightened interest in charity shops this week is BBC presenter Dan Walker, who said there were long queues outside shops in the Sheffield area.

Charity Retail Sales Tracker figures released earlier this year revealed that a promising period of trading in the final quarter of 2020 was “snuffed out” by lockdown restrictions.

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