Oxfam reports 50% drop in charity shop income this Christmas

12 Jan 2021 News

Oxfam shop

Matt Jerwood

Christmas sales at Oxfam shops were down 50% compared with last year, the charity has revealed.

This is likely to represent more than £9m in lost income, mainly as a result of shop closures forced by the pandemic, although Oxfam did not provide an exact figure.

The loss is partly off-set by a 90% increase in online sales compared with 2019, which brought in around £1.5m more for the charity this year.

The sales figures are taken from the nine-week festive trading period between 2 November  and 28 December. 

Lockdown costs

This covers a time when the country moved from a full national lockdown to regional lockdown rules which allowed charity shops to open in some parts of the UK but not in others.

Oxfam reported Christmas shop sales worth £19.3m for 2019, and just over £18m for the equivalent period in 2018.

The charity has previously said that every month that shops are closed costs the equivalent of £1.5m in lost income.  

Online growth

Oxfam’s online shop raised more than £3.4m over Christmas, the charity said, an increase of 86% on last year.

This included a 421% increase in sales from the Sourced by Oxfam range of ethically-sourced new products. Christmas card sales increased 800%. 

More than 560 Oxfam charity shops remain shut. The charity has asked supporters to hold onto any potential donations until its stores reopen again after the current lockdown. 

Oxfam: A 'gloomy time' for retail

Peter Haden, chief support officer at Oxfam, said: “The performance of our online shop was a bright light at an otherwise gloomy time for our shops. 

“With another lockdown now underway, continued strong online sales will be crucial in raising much needed money for our work with communities around the world fighting hunger and Covid-19.  
“I can’t thank the public enough for their support, and our volunteers and shop managers for their excellent work raising funds for Oxfam during a challenging time for the high street.”  

Falling profits

Analysis published in Charity Finance magazine last year showed that profits from Oxfam’s charity shop fell by more than 12% in the year before the coronavirus struck. 

This was in line with lower profits at other very large trading charities in the UK, including at Sue Ryder, the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK.

Income at Oxfam charity shops also fell slightly in 2019-20.

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