“Charity shops: bringing in the cash, but bringing down the high street?”

The article praises the work that charities and their volunteers do, but also addresses the perception that they influence feelings of the decline of towns as they proliferate in High Streets:

Most members of the public associate charity shops with high street decline, and 50% think a “healthy” high street should contain fewer charity shops.

These stark findings come from a report by thinktank Demos, updating its 2013 report on charity shops, both commissioned by the Charity Retail Association. Four years on, Demos says charity shops continue to be a lifeline for struggling town centres.

“Charity shops continue to perform a vital function in filling otherwise vacant properties in ailing high streets, with two-thirds of managers saying that their shop fills a space that would otherwise be left empty,” says the report.

But it notes that public opinion about the presence of charity shops on the high street is mixed, with the sector still facing an image problem in being associated with the decline of local high streets. Those surveyed overwhelmingly support charity shops receiving business rate relief, but more than half associate charity shops with high street decline. …


One thought on ““Charity shops: bringing in the cash, but bringing down the high street?”

  1. The image problem is only that the public see charity shops as the cause of a disfunctional high-street rather than a reaction to it.

    The “unhealthy” high street is mainly a consequence of landlords expecting too much rent and business rates being too high now that they face competition from the Internet. Landlords are reluctant to lower rents on existing leases and even reluctant to accept lower rents on new leases. And business rates generally reflect rental values – but the government could lower rates for retail spaces of less than x sq m to stimulate the high street.

    But the other problem is that the business climate is not conducive to small businesses – this Tory government falls over itself to help large corporations (or as I call them Conservative Party Sponsors), but is trying to extract every drop of tax revenue from small businesses (see recent items about business rates for small businesses).

    Unfortunately it’s the Tories to blame again. They sure do have the midas touch – only its lead not gold.

    Disclosure: I was a Tory voter for most of my life.


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