The aid charity bucked the high street downturn
Oxfam shops bucked the high street slump with in-store Christmas sales climbing by 7%.
As shoppers sought ethical and second-hand products that protect the planet and raise money for the world’s poorest people.
High street sales in the week before Christmas (15-21 December) were the highest since 2011, and sales of donated items on the Oxfam Online Shop during the nine-week festive trading period rose by 11%. Overall, this Christmas marked Oxfam’s best performance in eight years.
In a challenging year for retailers, Oxfam’s total sales over the period exceeded £19.3 million. This represents a 7% increase on the same time in 2018, and a five per cent rise like-for-like, which means an extra £1.28 million was raised for Oxfam’s work. That is enough to provide clean water for more than 1.2 million people in an emergency.
Andrew Horton, Oxfam’s trading director said: “Shoppers are more and more discerning, thinking carefully about how they spend their money. Oxfam offers an affordable, ethical and sustainable alternative to other outlets. Our products are good quality and do good too.
“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. A huge thank you to every one of them and to shoppers who help Oxfam fight poverty and make the world a fairer, kinder and safer place for us all.”
The growth of sales comes at a welcome time for Oxfam as charities face a challenging funding environment.
Sourced By Oxfam, its range of ethically sourced and sustainable new products helped drive the growth. Sales of the range in high street shops rose by 13% as shoppers snapped up of-the-moment Christmas decorations such as a felt avocado and dinosaurs crafted from recycled saris.
The move towards anti-plastic and environmentally friendly products continued, with strong demand for recycled gift wrap and non-plastic containing crackers. Cracker sales shot up by 55 per cent. Freshly designed re-useable bamboo coffee cups, lunch boxes and beeswax food wraps were particularly sought after.
Horton added: “The money raised will help us to achieve life-saving and life-improving change – from providing communities with clean water and sanitation, to helping people we work with earn a fair wage in decent conditions or cope with the devastating effects of climate change.
“With Christmas being successful, we desperately need more donations of good quality clothing and homeware to help us raise more money to do good. We rely on the generosity of the British public and donations are crucial and extremely appreciated by us.”
Chris Heap, 53, who volunteered at the Oxfam superstore in Oxford said: “Being surrounded by all the Christmas sounds and chatter is a good feeling. It’s a nice vibe and we want to help each other.
“There’s lots of different people who come into Oxfam shops. They serve the community because some people can’t afford high street prices. You can find lovely bargains which make Christmas special. There’s something for everyone.”