Oxfam reports highest Christmas sales since 2011 despite retail’s 'worst year on record'

10 Jan 2020 News

Oxfam shop

Matt Jerwood

Oxfam has reported its best Christmas performance in eight years, with a 7 per cent growth on the same period last year.

Both online and high-street sales were up, with the charity making more than £19.3m from its shops in the nine-week period from 27 October to 28 December. 

This was despite a challenging year for UK retail overall, with sales declining on the previous year for the first time on record. 

On the high-street 

Oxfam's in-store Christmas sales were up by 7 per cent on last year. The charity said that there was a strong demand for its sustainable products, including recycled gift wrap, non-plastic-containing crackers, re-useable coffee cups and beeswax food wraps.

Andrew Horton, trading director at Oxfam, said: “Shoppers are more and more discerning, thinking carefully about how they spend their money. 
 
“This Christmas sales performance is an encouraging sign that the public loves getting quality, ethical products at fair prices and that our stores are places people enjoy popping into. They are important parts of their local communities.

“The welcoming atmosphere is largely thanks to our staff and 20,000 inspiring volunteers who worked so hard over the festive period.”

Oxfam has more than 600 high-street shop in the UK. Over the Christmas period, each shopper bought two items worth a total of £6.96 on average.

In September 2019, Oxfam opened its first superstore in Oxford, which occupies an area of 1,700 sq metres and is run by 150 volunteers.

Online

Oxfam’s online shop reported a strong performance during Black Friday, with sales up by 15 per cent. Online sales of donated items grew by 11 per cent during the whole Christmas period.

Top-selling items included womenswear, with “sequins”, “velvet” and “cashmere” among the top search terms, but also leather jackets, scarves, first edition books and cameras.

The Oxfam online shop was first launched in 2007 and sells several thousands of books, clothes, music products, films, video games and homeware items.   

2019 was the 'worst year on record' for UK retailers

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) released its Retail Sales Monitor yesterday, estimating that UK retail sales decreased by 0.1 per cent in 2019. 

November and December sales combined were also down by 0.9 per cent on last year’s, suggesting a weak Christmas performance.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, called 2019 “the worst year on record” and said it was “the first year to show an overall decline in retail sales”.

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