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Charity shops under scrutiny for high prices and low quality fashion

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Shelter charity store Credits: Shelter

The allure of charity shops, once a treasure trove for bargain hunters, is waning as an investigation led by Telegraph Money investigated seven stores across London to unveil a surprising trend of overpriced items and a glut of poor-quality fast fashion.

The British Heart Foundation's Dalston store had a Primark fleece listed at 10.50 pounds, significantly higher than its retail price, and Crisis featured designer items like a 185 pounds Christian Dior wool coat and a 200 pounds Chloe cardigan, the investigation revealed.

Many charity shops, including Oxfam, Mind, and Shelter, were found overflowing with fast-fashion brands like Boohoo and Zara, the Telegraph said, while some high-end charity shops like Mary's Living & Giving maintained a curated selection.

This shift in the charity shop landscape is attributed to a decline in quality donations, as people turn to online platforms such as Vinted, Depop, and Etsy to sell their items instead.

These apps, heralded as an existential threat to traditional charity shops, provide an easy and profitable way for sellers to reach a broad audience instead of giving away clothes for free.

While charity shops face criticism for higher prices and sometimes questionable pricing practices, experts emphasise the essential role they play in supporting low-income households. As online marketplaces gain popularity, charity shops are compelled to adapt to changing consumer behaviors, raising questions about the future of this once-vibrant sector.

Charity Shop
Fast fashion