Sunday, 9 August 2009

Priced Out: Charity Shopping

Now is it just me or have charity shops become savvy to the increase in their popularity due to the current interest with all things vintage, recyclable and thrifty? I have noticed recently that this is happening in particularly well-heeled areas of London where the stock tends to be significantly better and so are popular with in-the-know shoppers.

The Kings Road, Chelsea, is home to a treasure trove of charity shops filled with beautiful stock donated by it wealthy residents. This has always been top of my list for second-hand shopping and I vacate them regularly. However recently I have become aware of the over-ambitious pricing strategy which has been put in place, for instance I saw a jacket in there, which I had in my own wardrobe, which was priced for more than it retailed at - ridiculous.

Now I understand that charity shops are helping good causes however my fear is that if this ambitious pricing strategy continues it will mean that the current trend for charity shopping will become a short-lived thing. People will no longer choose to shop there as they have been priced out meaning less customers, less donations from the public, who are disillusioned with charity shops, and will choose an alternative to dispose with their unwanted goods (ebay, swap shop, bin), and therefore a decline in trade and in the long run.


  1. I can see your point completely. I think it's a difficult decision to increase prices on charity stock...and pricing something at it's current selling price is definitely a big mistake. I think the days where you can find an amazing treasure for 50p are long gone...I suppose money doesn't stretch too far these days!

    I do think that dropping off a bunch of old clothes at a charity shop is still far easier and less hassle than selling on ebay etc.

    I also believe that Charity shops are changing...I've seen an incredible refit at the Oxfam in Camden and it really works. Little rummaging is needed as they've put out the very best stock. I think this store worked because if you still wanted to rummage, you could pop into the charity shops next door which have remained unchanged since they opened. I guess this store was almost like the cherry on the cake for the charity shops on that road...

    This was a great post, really got me thinking!

  2. yeah, i've noticed the prices rising too, and i live in a dinky small town. hopefully they don't kill the interest in thrifting!

  3. I live in Orpington, the home of the Save The Children charity shop that Mary Portas re-launched. Luckily being in greater london the prices are still low and the designer goods (ie prada shoes for £60) are a bargain! I too spent the same amount on a pair of charity shop trousers for the same as they retailed in london, but lets hope this was a one off!

    Regardless of how much things cost, however, I'd still much rather spend £50 that goes to charity than any retailer.

    Lets all keep up the good work :o)