THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHARITY RETAIL SECTOR IN THE UK

Nguyen, Thanh Ha (2011) THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHARITY RETAIL SECTOR IN THE UK. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The charity shop model has become a retail phenomenon in the UK. The first shop opened in 1945 and there are 9,000 shops open in 2011 that seek to generate unallocated income for charitable purposes. Despite the success of the charity retail sector little research has been carried out to identify the key factors in its development.

This dissertation applies the wheel of retailing model to provide an overview of the charity retail market and then examines the relevance of a number of factors divided into 3 sections. Professionalism is analysed by considering the operation of a charity shop, how customer behaviour has changed over time, and the pricing strategies that charity shops adopt. Cost is analysed by considering the move towards centralisation, paid employment, and the benefit to charity shops of government policies. These costs are contrasted with those faced by private businesses. Recession is analysed by considering whether charity shops benefit in ways that private businesses do not during an economic downturn and how consumers respond.

The dissertation uses quantitative data to detail how the charity retail market has evolved since 1945 and qualitative data, gained whilst the author worked as a volunteer in a charity shop. This provided a unique insight into the workings of a modern day charity shop.

Through this analysis the dissertation concludes that the charity retail market is not homogenous, with charity shops at different stages of the wheel of retailing. The charity chains that have been successful have embraced professionalism in every area of operation from the sourcing and collecting of goods to the staffing and design of their shops. This had led to an increase in the attraction of charity shops and therefore, the customer base. The sector as a whole has benefitted from the move towards ethical shopping and recycling. The drive towards professionalism is not consistent with a desire to operate at the lowest possible cost. Whilst charity shops do still have significant cost advantages over private businesses in the form of a large pool of volunteer labour and numerous tax exemptions, the benefit in profit outweighs the increase in cost of adopting a more professional approach. Whilst large charity chains have continued to thrive during periods of recession due to the desire for inferior goods, they have suffered from a fall in donations which has led to the closure of smaller and less professional charity shops.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2012 08:07
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2016 12:44
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/25004

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