What do you think – are charity shops too expensive these days?
So, any regular readers here will know that I’m a huge fan of charity shops and love to grab a bargain but even I’ve noticed that a bargain these days is more expensive than a charity shop bargain used to be. 😟
Obviously, the high street shops have been closed for a while now but lots of the big charities (and some of the smaller ones) have online charity shops which I shared a little while ago and at the time, someone sent me a message to say she used to love charity shop shopping but that she felt they were charging too much in her area which got me thinking.
Are charity shops too expensive these days and are they potentially pricing themselves too high to attract people?
She’s not the first person to say that charity shops charge too much though – on the odd occasion I’ve managed to drag Miss Frugal with me she’s asked me why I’d pay the prices being asked when I could go somewhere like Primark and buy cheaper.
She’s got a point to be fair although I personally like to buy second hand for a few reasons. I feel good about my second-hand buys because it’s more sustainable and better for the environment and reduces the demand for ‘fast fashion’ where companies just churn out cheap clothes that probably won’t make it through more than a couple of wardrobe clear outs because they’re just not good enough quality or they’re a trend that won’t last. I’d be lying if I said these were the main reasons why I love a good charity shop rummage though. 😂.
My main reason is that I’m at the age where finding a Marks and Spencers Per Una jacket in fab condition for under a tenner is one of my weekly highlights.
I can’t even tell you my excitement when I came across this little coat just sitting on a rack of coats looking pretty between all the greys, blacks and browns. I tend to look for what I’d class as premium brands when I’m rummaging so I’d expect to pay a little more for those but I’m happy to do so because I know that I’m buying something that’s going to last me for much less than I’d pay for it new. My pink coat for example, it cost me £8.99 from the charity shop but they sell on eBay second hand for between £30 and £45 and would have cost double that if I’d bought it brand new.
This red dress is from Roman Originals and cost me £4.99 from the charity shop and it was in immaculate condition when I bought it so had hardly been worn. Similar styles from the brand sell from between £9 and £20 on eBay and brand new, dresses sell from £38 upwards on their site.
So, if you ask me if charity shops are too expensive then my answer would be a resounding NO.
I’ve got some more reasons why they’re not though…
How much money does a charity shop make?
Obviously, I’m a charity shop shopper rather than an expert in the ins and outs of running a charity shop but I’ve tried to do a bit of Googling and found various different figures quoted – all of which seem to be dependant on the charity itself, the location of the individual shop and whether it’s part of a larger chain.
The most accurate figure that I could find was pulled from data published in March 2020 by the Charity Retail Association who released figures to show that of the 5000+ charity shops that they used for data, the average turnover per shop was in the region of £2500.
I also read somewhere that of that turnover, between 60% and 80% of that will be used to actually run the shops themselves so that’s a huge dent in that £2500 turnover if that’s the case!
This little snippet is from the Mind website and is based on 2019 figures but it shows that their shops had a turnover of £17.2 million but of that, £13.4 million was spent on operational costs including rent, bills and staff salaries – that’s a big chunk of money when you consider that charity shops rely heavily on volunteers and have various different tax relief schemes.
And you know what? When I think about it then it makes total sense because even with reduced rent (if that’s actually a thing), there’s still rent to pay along with all the other bills that any other high street business has. They may be staffed heavily by volunteers but they need some permanent members of staff to keep things running over.
So it looks to me like charity shops aren’t the huge money makers that you might think they are so they need to maximise profits just like any other business.
And finally… A charity shops main purpose is to make money for charity so the more they charge, the more money they’ll have to help whatever cause they’re supporting. Surely, that’s enough justification for a little bit extra on the price tag?
What do you think?
(Also – I know I should include helping charity as my main reason for shopping in charity shops but funnily enough, that’s just a really small factor in why I like to shop in them. Donating to charity shops is where I like to feel I’m really helping a charity and I always try and donate to the same one as it’s quite a small one that I feel personally connected to. Hope that makes sense!)
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