In a surprising turn of events, UK charity shops are bucking the retail trend by launching the first-ever specialist gift card. The Charity Retail Association (CRA) is spearheading this innovative initiative in response to the rising popularity of secondhand shopping in 2023. The Charity Shop Gift Card is unique in that it can be used in multiple charity shops across the country, whether they are run by regional or national charities. This card not only aims to boost retail income for charities, but also tackles the issue of waste sent to landfills.

Furthermore, the introduction of the Charity Shop Gift Card presents an opportunity for existing sustainable shoppers to encourage their loved ones to embrace thrift as well. This initiative also allows the charity retail sector to tap into the lucrative £7 billion-a-year gift card market. As a social enterprise, 65% of the annual profits from The Charity Shop Gift Card will go towards funding cards for various good causes in the communities they support. Additionally, these gift cards are made from recycled materials and can be purchased at participating shops, as well as major retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Boots, Asda, and WHSmith.

Robin Osterley, the CEO of the Charity Retail Association, expressed excitement for this new venture, stating, “The Charity Shop Gift Card is a fantastic asset to the charity retail sector. It maximizes the growth in charity shop footfall and the rising interest in sustainable shopping, which shows no signs of slowing down. Shoppers are turning to charity shops to get the best value for their money, and the gift card makes it easier than ever to share the joy of charity shopping with friends, family, and colleagues.”

Despite the pressures of a tightening cost-of-living, charity shops are defying the decline often seen on the high street with an impressive 11% increase in sales, according to the latest figures from the CRA. In addition, member charity shops have experienced a 10.8% year-on-year increase in in-store income, with the average number of daily transactions rising by 11%. Moreover, 64% of member charities report an increase in donations to meet the growing demand.

These figures not only highlight the financial success of charity shop sales, but also their positive impact on the environment. Each year, charity shops divert 339,000 tonnes of textiles from landfills, making a significant contribution toward reducing waste. Additionally, the sales from these shops contribute £363 million to research and services provided to local communities.

Overall, the introduction of the Charity Shop Gift Card is a testament to the thriving market for secondhand shopping and the willingness of consumers to embrace sustainable retail practices. With growing support and recognition, charity shops are proving to be more than just an alternative to traditional retail – they are becoming a powerful force for positive social and environmental change.

Useful links:
1. Charity Retail Association
2. Recycling Facts