Oxfam Christmas sales soared as shoppers sought sustainable, affordable Christmas purchases

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- Short URL: https://www.oxfam.org.uk/mc/jz2mhe/

Oxfam’s high street shop takings rocketed by more than 40 per cent in the week before Christmas (18-24 Dec) reaching £2.68 million, as customers shopped locally for items that are kinder to the planet, people, and household budgets.

The week was the highpoint of a successful festive trading period (30 October – 31 December 2022), as year-on-year sales across Oxfam’s shops and e-commerce operations rose by six per cent to £20.8m across the charity’s retail network. This raised an extra £1.1m for Oxfam’s poverty-fighting work around the world compared to the same period the year before (2021) and reflected findings from Oxfam’s pre-Christmas research that festive shopping decisions were being driven by concerns for the environment and the cost-of-living crisis.

Donated goods sales – i.e., sustainable fashion, homeware, books, and music – rose by 10 per cent in high street stores totalling £11.4m. While sales of Sourced by Oxfam, the charity’s range of ethically sourced and sustainable new products, grew by nine per cent.

Lorna Fallon, Oxfam’s Retail Director said: “We are delighted with our Christmas sales and it’s really thanks to shop teams, our staff and volunteers, and of course the British public who so kindly donate and shop with us. Customers flocked to Oxfam stores to find what they wanted and needed for Christmas. They decided to look locally for unique and meaningful gifts that would make their money stretch further and benefit a good cause.

“Everything we sell at Oxfam is either second-hand, and therefore more sustainable, or it’s a new product that’s been sourced ethically. These qualities mean our customers can be confident their purchases are kinder to the planet and people and raise money for our poverty-fighting work around the world. Retailers know consumer confidence is key, and our customers shopped with positive intent.”

High street shops represent the lion’s share of the charity’s Christmas-time takings totting up an impressive additional nine per cent in sales, compared to the same period in 2021. Sales were consistently up across almost the entire nine-week trading period, compared to the year before. Five of the festive trading weeks took sales of more than £2m each.

Womenswear was the best-selling product category in high street stores with like-for-like sales up by 14 per cent and shop managers reporting a strong demand for partywear. Books were the next best-seller on high streets with sales jumping by 12 per cent and fiction particularly popular. Donated accessories rose by nine per cent and homewares by six.

The expanded Sourced by Oxfam range of Christmas decorations saw good growth, with the rainbow star the favourite followed by the cute mistletoe dog. Both handcrafted felt items were produced by a fairtrade producer group in Nepal.

Oxfam’s retail team believe that consumer uncertainty about delivery because of the postal strikes may have contributed to a reduction of 22 per cent in Oxfam Online Shop sales compared to the previous year. However, shops may have benefited from an increased number of customers shopping locally as a result of industrial action by rail workers.

Profits from Oxfam Retail sales raise crucial funds for Oxfam’s poverty-fighting work around the world. Right now, Oxfam and its partners are working in East Africa where it’s estimated one person is dying from hunger every 36 seconds. The extra £1.1m raised by Oxfam Christmas 2022 sales could provide more than 11,800 families in East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan) with food for a month, by providing cash to buy it or distribute items such as cooking oil, pulses, and canned food.

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