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Gloucestershire Business News

Oxfam rings up bumper Christmas with rocketing online sales

Sales at the Oxfam Online Shop  rocketed by 27 per cent in the Christmas trading period as shoppers searched for cards and gifts with trusted ethical credentials that raise money to fight extreme poverty.

But it wasn't just online where sales were up. In a challenging year for high street retailers, Oxfam bucked the trend with growing sales. Like-for-like sales in Oxfam's high street shops rose by 1.3 per cent, with trading in the week before Christmas (16-22 December) reaching a seven-year high.

Oxfam has stores in Cirencester, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stroud and Dursley.

Oxfam's total sales over the eight week Christmas period exceeded £18 million. That represents an increase of one per cent on the same period in 2017 and an extra £167,485 raised. That's enough to provide safe, clean water for 170,000 people in an emergency.

Sourced by Oxfam, the charity's range of brand new ethically sourced gifts and products helped drive the growth. Sales of Sourced by Oxfam rose by 48 per cent online, and 11 per cent in stores. Eco-friendly products such as beeswax food wrap and e-coffee cups were particularly sought after.

Vintage clothing, designer brands Burberry, Gucci, Chanel and high street names Whistles and Boden were top search terms online as shoppers looked for party outfits. Cashmere, handbags, silver and first editions were also especially popular. Oxfam has over 185,000 unique items listed on its website at any one time.

Andrew Horton, Oxfam trading director, said: "Strong Christmas sales demonstrate the public's continued support for Oxfam's work helping the world's poorest people, and the appeal of the items we sell. Our shops are stocked with sustainable fashion and new products with sound ethical credentials. Our customers are increasingly thoughtful about how they spend their money, seeking out items that save the planet and make the world a kinder, fairer place for us all to live in.

"Over Christmas we've been providing life-saving aid for millions of people in war-torn Yemen, and clean water and sanitation for victims of the tsunami in Indonesia. This work continues and would be impossible without the backing of the British public. I am so grateful for this support and to our dedicated shop managers and generous volunteers who worked so hard over the festive period."

Twenty-three thousand people show their commitment to Oxfam by volunteering in its high-street shops, which are not only stocked with affordable products but are vibrant community hubs which bring people together regardless of background or generation.

Punchline said: "While this is undoubtedly great news for Oxfam, could this dramatic rise in online sales be the beginning of the end for high street charity shops? It's easy to understand customers searching online for exactly what they want, other than taking their chances in their local charity shop. But it's important to remember that charity shops serve two purposes - to raise money for a worthwhile cause, but also to provide affordable items for people living in poverty who can't always afford to buy new. They are great footfall drivers for the high street as a whole."

Photo credit: Oxfam

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