Recession-hit bargain hunters flock to Clapham’s charity shops


Charity shops on the high street have experienced an increase in sales since the recession.


By Sandy Dhaliwal

Clapham Junction shoppers are turning more to charity shops since the economic downturn.

Many charity shops on the high street, including Lavender Hill’s Trinity Hospice, Cancer Research UK and Ace of Clubs on St John’s Road, have experienced an increase in sales since the recession.

Agnes Maciol, manager of the Cancer Research UK store, said that there has been a six percent sales increase from last year.

Duncan Laird, a retired volunteer at the Trinity Hospice, indicated that shoppers are now targeting charity shops for their needs much like any other store in the high street.

Ms Maciol indicated that charity shops have become part of the retail sector, and that nowadays they do actively compete with other high street stores in terms of pricing, merchandising and quality.

She said: “People are more likely to come in now as they know it’s not like a jumble sale anymore.”

Amanda Brooks, business manager at Ace of Clubs, said that the choice of fabrics and colours they use are all to bring on the wow factor for customers.

“Fabulous spreads fabulousness,” she said. “If you have amazing stuff in the window, we’ll get amazing stuff in, as they know we’ll display it beautifully.”

Avid charity shopper Shreena Soomarah, 25, from Battersea Park, especially likes the Clapham charity shops due to their decor.

She said: “I use charity shops in Clapham a lot, mainly because the ones in the area really make an effort, especially the ones along St John’s Hill.”

The Charity Retail Association also indicated that there has been a growing trend in shopping for second hand goods since the economic downturn, attributing it to the quality of products available at lower prices.

A study by the Association revealed that 58 percent of charity shop buyers said that low prices were an appealing factor.

Shoppers in Clapham Junction echoed these findings, saying that price was a big factor.

Jeremy Chick, 31, from Wimbledon, said: “If your budget is limited the importance of a bargain can become all encompassing.”

High street shops, however, including Unique Shoes on St John’s Road have suffered a decrease in sales in the last year.

Joe Kasias, sales assistant at Unique Shoes, said: “This time last year we did £14,000. This year in the same week, four.

“Now people are attracted to places that are a lot cheaper.”

Workers at the charity stores also indicated that they have seen a decrease in donations since the recession.

Mr Laird said: “People might have given clothes to charity to buy new clothes, but now they might not be sure if they’ll have a job next week so they’re holding onto their clothes a lot longer.”

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