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Charity stores feel the pinch as clothing donations fall

The volume of clothing that is being donated to charity stores has reduced significantly but the number of sales has increased, according to the Association of Charity Shops.

Head of policy and public affairs David Moir told MRW: There has been a reduction in the quantity and in the quality of donations which is related to the economic downturn. People are not buying new goods and are less inclined to donate. There are also other pressures on textiles, as other legitimate textile organisations work in partnership with charities to collect textiles door-to-door. This puts pressure on charity shops.

Moir said that bogus textile collectors are also putting pressure on shops as they try to make a quick buck from high textile prices, especially at Christmas time.

The Association of Charity Shops looks after 300 member charities including the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research and Oxfam.

The rise of the discount store has also put strain on charity stores. Moir said: You can now get T-shirts for £1.50 but the quality is low and it suffers. If customers bring in these low quality items it makes it difficult for stores to resell them and make a profit because customers like high quality clothes.

Charity shop customers now have high expectations of charity shops and like to buy quality clothing.

Moir explained that charity shops had bad reputations in the past but they now have established a wide customer base. He said: Some customers now come in more than twice a week. It is normal for them to shop in a charity shop just like a butcher or baker shop. This is due to the commitment shown by stores in the past few years.

He also said that the rise of the boutique store will be a trend to watch out for as more customers shop for vintage clothes.

Sales are up but donations are down which puts massive pressure on shop stock and is really worrying, added Moir. It is so important that we get the message out there that donating unwanted goods is a great way to support charities. We urge people to continue to donate quality donations to charity stores.

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