Record online sales offer Christmas cheer for Oxfam amid gloom of high street closures

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Oxfam today announced an increase in online sales of almost 90 per cent on 2019 during the festive period as it urged more supporters to visit its online shop while high street stores are closed.

Despite the bumper online sales, lockdown measures offset  the extra profit Oxfam had made, with high street sales down by 50 per cent on last year due to the enforced shop closures.

While the shutters came down on most of Oxfam’s high street shops ahead of Christmas, behind closed doors dedicated staff and volunteers worked hard to drive sales on the Oxfam Online Shop, resulting in its best performance yet.

Total sales for the Oxfam Online Shop during the nine-week festive trading period rose to more than £3.4 million – an increase of £1.5m or 86 per cent.

The increase was driven in part by an incredible 421 per cent  jump in sales of the Sourced by Oxfam range of ethically sourced and sustainable new products.

Sales of second-hand items also rocketed by 84 per cent, as people turned to the internet for their shopping amid Covid restrictions.

With lockdown restrictions now in place across the country, all 561 Oxfam shops are shut, and Oxfam is urging people to continue shopping online to help the charity raise funds for its work beating poverty around the world.

Peter Haden, Oxfam’s Chief Support Officer, said: “The performance of our online shop was a bright light at an otherwise gloomy time for our shops. With another lockdown now underway, continued strong online sales will be crucial in raising much needed money for our work with communities around the world fighting hunger and Covid.

“I can’t thank the public enough for their support – and our volunteers and shop managers for their excellent work raising funds for Oxfam during a challenging time for the high street.

“I would urge everyone who would normally visit their high street Oxfam shop to take a look online – not least to check out January’s half price sale.”

Books were the top selling second-hand item in the online shop during the Christmas period, as people sought out entertainment and escapism over the long winter months. Rare, signed books also went into shopping baskets, including a collection of three poems by Lord Alfred Tennyson and illustrated by Edward Lear, which raised £2,500 for Oxfam.

Women’s clothes were the second biggest seller, with coats and jackets the most popular items, and a Chanel designer tweed coat selling for £1,150.

Christmas card sales were up by 800 per cent, reflecting the nation’s need to share well-wishes during a challenging festive period.

Top selling Christmas presents from the Sourced by Oxfam range included gardenwares like the Eden Project bee house and the recycled sari birdhouse as the trend for home improvements continued. With the network of shops closed, Oxfam is asking people to hang on to their much-welcomed donations until shop doors are open again.


Notes to editors:

  • All sales figures are for the nine-week Christmas Trading period from November 2 to 28 December compared to the same weeks in 2019.
  • The proceeds of sales from the Oxfam Online Shop and high street shops support the charity’s work to end the injustice of poverty around the world.
  • Oxfam has 561 high street shops across the UK, supported by a workforce of more than 20,000 volunteers, selling second hand fashion, books, music, homewares and the Sourced by Oxfam range of ethically sourced new products.
  • Our unique Sourced by Oxfam range of ethically sourced brand-new products are carefully selected by our team of buyers who search for pioneering suppliers who put people before profit and produce quality products with the emphasis on small-scale production and sustainable materials. The range is available on Oxfam Online Shop and in selected high street shops.
  • Oxfam launched the UK’s first online charity shop in 2007. This was the 13th Christmas since the launch of Oxfam Online Shop, the UK’s biggest charity shop with thousands of unique treasures all in one place, from the Oxfam Unwrapped range of charity gifts to the Sourced by Oxfam range of ethically sourced new products and more than 170,000 unique second-hand items. There are more than 94,000 books, more than 33,000 women’s clothing and accessories items, 24,000 music products, films and video games and 3,000 items of homewares and collectables. Over 400 Oxfam shops across the country upload new items to the site every day, and volunteers at two central hubs, based in Milton Keynes and Batley, Yorkshire, upload thousands of new items a week.
  • Oxfam is a global movement of people all working towards the same goal – an end to the injustice of poverty. Together we save and rebuild lives in disasters, help people earn a living, and speak out on the big issues, like inequality and climate change, that keep people poor. And we won’t stop until we get there. Join us!

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