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Retail / Charity shop

Charity shop

A charity shop (UK), thrift store (US) or op shop (Australia/NZ, from opportunity shop) is a retail establishment operated by a charitable organization for the purpose of fundraising. They usually sell second-hand goods donated by members of the public, and are often staffed by volunteers. Because the items for sale were obtained for free, they can be sold at very low prices. All the profits from the sales go towards the charity, apart from the costs for overheads such as lighting, electricity and the lease.

Charity shops are often popular with the poor, but they are also popular with various subcultures. For example, clothing from charity stores was often modified by early punk rockers. In the United States shopping at a thrift store has become popular enough to earn a slang term, thrifting.

Some thrift stores also sell a limited range of new goods which may have some connection with the cause the charity supports. Oxfam stores, for example, sell fair trade food and crafts. Some stores specialize in selling books, music, or bridalwear.

The first charity shop in the United Kingdom was established by Oxfam in Broad Street, Oxford in 1948. Oxfam has the largest number of charity shops in the UK with over 800 stores. Many of the Oxfam shops also sell books, and the organization now operate over 70 specialist Oxfam Bookshops throughout the United Kingdom, making them the largest retailer of second-hand books in Britain. Oxfam also have stores in Jersey, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Hong Kong. Other charities with a strong presence on high streets in the UK include Age Concern, Cancer Research UK, Help the Aged, Save the Children, Scope and Sue Ryder. Many local hospices also operate charity shops to raise funds.

See also

  • give-away shop
  • Goodwill Industries
  • jumble sale
  • list of environment topics
  • Salvation Army
  • surplus store

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