Feel good fashion: Oxfam bucks the high street trend and posts record profits as thrifty Brits embrace second-hand style
15:06 GMT, 31 August 2012
As anyone with Pucci taste on a Primark budget knows, Oxfam stores are a goldmine for designer bargains.
Thanks to Mary-Kate Olsen and Kate Moss' vintage-inspired attire, charity shops are where the savviest shoppers spend their Saturday afternoons trawling through heaps of stylish garments from yesteryear.
And Oxfam for one has certainly been reaping the rewards noting that vintage and second-hand fashion is more popular than ever, with record sales being recorded across stores, both on the high street and online.
Oxfam's new lookbook campaign showcases the best of vintage trends which can be bought at a high-street price
The store has reported the highest sales, especially with the help of online purchases as thrifty shoppers cut costs
As it launches its Autumn/Winter 2012 fashion campaign, Oxfam is reporting a 7% rise in sales across both its menswear and womenswear ranges.
These sales mark a record year for the high-street bargain store, who saw overall sales increasing to 89.9m.
A strong part of Oxfam's retailing success has been the development of its e-commerce offering, with online sales helping generate 24% more income than last year as tech-savvy Brits have cheap designer outfits at their fingertips.
While women's clothing remains the biggest seller for the store, men's clothing sales are on the up which shows just how mainstream the charity shop look is becoming.
Accessories sales are this year's
quickest seller as shoppers rush out to buy the latest vintage jewellery
at a fraction of the price.
Celebrities are big fans of the bargains and Caroline Flack and Imogen Thomas love stocking up in store or giving their old clothes to the charitable cause
Even fashion-savvy Victoria Beckham has been spied stocking up in her local charity shops
Fee Gilfeather from Oxfam said: 'After many decades on the British high street, we have learnt a huge amount of what people are looking for and continue to evolve the shopping experience for our customers.
'Second-hand and vintage clothing not only offers shoppers the chance to buy designer brands, individuality and quality at high-street prices, but the ability to support charity at the same time, something that is resonating with British shoppers more and more in recent years.'
The new campaign lookbook showcases the wealth of trend-led, vintage and individual styles that can be created at Oxfam shops.
Oxfam now has a showroom of items handpicked from its shops which are loaned out to stylists looking for that 'special' piece needed to complete a look.
THE HIGH STREET GOES BOUTIQUE THANKS TO MARY PORTAS
It seems that it isn't just quirky thrift stores that are pulling in the customers after the latest research revealed that the traditional high street stalwarts of cafes, pubs and takeaways are gradually being replaced by more specialist and boutique outlets such as health food shops, tea rooms, arts & crafts stores, wine bars and old fashioned sweet shops.
The report by Simply Business found that the proportion of pubs is down by 20 per cent in the last year, cafes are down by 11 per cent, sandwich bars are down by 16 per cent and takeaways down by three per cent.
Retailers have taken heed of the advice from Governments appointed High Street Tsar Mary Portas to create experiences different to the ones consumers can get online or in shopping malls
Meanwhile, wine bars are up 13 per cent, tea rooms up nine per cent, traditional sweet shops up by 15 per cent and health food shops increased by a significant 42 per cent – revealing a new-look high street aimed at a more discerning customer.
And although the high street has been struggling, with latest figures from the British Retail Consortium showing a 5.5 per cent decline on last year’s footfall, these findings suggest that retailers have taken heed of the advice from Government’s appointed ‘High Street Tsar’ Mary Portas to ‘create experiences different to the ones consumers can get online or in shopping malls.’
Fashion fanatics are even stocking up on ‘make it yourself’ purchases with fabric shops up 44 per cent, home baking shops by 50 per cent, while art and craft shops have seen a 29 per cent rise in the last year. There is also a trend for vintage and customisable goods, with second hand shops seeing a six per cent rise and charity shops up 27 per cent.
'It is encouraging to see that the high street is adapting to the new retail landscape, where savvy shoppers have numerous alternatives including online, out of town shopping malls and supermarkets,' said Jason Stockwood, CEO, Simply Business.
'Our findings show that independent retailers are increasingly looking to specialise or offer something different to alternative outlets, tempting shoppers with a more quirky, unique experience.
'We can also see fascinating evidence that while today’s shoppers still like the finer things in life, they are putting effort into making their own treats and also shopping around for bargains. The rise in fabric shops, bakers produce and second hand shops suggests that Brits are becoming more creative and resourceful with how they spend their money.'
There are also some interesting trends indicating regional hot spots for certain independent retailers:
• London remains the place to go for culinary delights, with 12 per cent of its high streets made up of restaurants compared to an average of five per cent.
• Manchester on the other hand comes top for takeaways with 14 per cent of its outlets dedicated to fast food, compared to only four per cent nationally.
• Liverpool lives up to its increasingly glamorous reputation, with the largest proportion of fashion boutiques (eight per cent) and hairdressers (five per cent). This compares to national average of four per cent for both.