Monthly Archives: October 2011

Charity Begins at Home

One of the things I really enjoy about the calls I get from journalists is that they prompt me to consider new aspects of consumer issues.  This morning I was called by BBC Radio Bristol to talk about the rise of charity shops on UK high streets. At the heart of the issue is the advantageous cost base that charity shops enjoy.  Not only do they receive heavily discounted business rates (80% discounts are mandatory), they also capitalise on difficult economic conditions by taking on retail premises at very low rents: the landlords must continue to pay business rates even if their premises are unoccupied, so they are under considerable pressure to find a retail tenant. With their donated stock and volunteer staff, charity shops benefit from significantly lower running costs. The issue is far from simple. The very nature of ‘charity’ is highly emotive: few people would say charities […]