Multi-charity superstore on a roll.
Pioneering multi-charity department store concept The Charity Super.Mkt continues to launch pop-up stores in major shopping centres around the country as part of a rolling programme supporting local and national charities as well as reducing the amount of clothes going into landfill.
This week the latest outlet will open in Media City in Salford Quayside just as the unit at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent comes to the end of its six-week trading window. Next up will be Westfield London in Shepherd’s Bush on November 23 that will trade through until the end of February.
These follow earlier pop-ups – in Brent Cross, Glasgow and Reading – that began in February as a trial to test the concept, which had been created by entrepreneur Wayne Hemingway, founder of fashion business Red or Dead, and Maria Chenoweth, CEO of sustainable charity Traid. They decided to join forces to create the first multi-charity pre-loved fashion department store.
The idea was to present second-hand goods in a much more dynamic environment than is frequently the case with traditional charity shops and to place these outlets in attractive, primary shopping locations with seriously high footfalls.
Hemingway says: “It is a mere seven months since we started on this journey to attempt to demonstrate that charity second-hand fashion could, and should, be part of a modern retail mix in the busiest of shopping centres. The Charity Super.Mkt is proving that and more. Not only is the concept exciting customers, allowing them to do their bit for society, the environment and their own pockets, it is creating uplifts in footfall and most importantly providing some much-needed income for charities.”
At the time of the opening at Bluewater it was revealed that the concept had so far sold more than 100,000 pre-loved items and that these sales had gone on to directly help 10 UK-based charities. James Waugh, centre manager at Bluewater, stated at the time of the launch: “We know that pre-loved fashion is something our guests are asking for more and more – we hosted our first second-hand clothing pop-up in the summer – so to be able to open a charity focused store on a much bigger scale, really is great news. The trend for pre-loved fashion is growing year-on-year and we’re committed to evolving our offer so we stay relevant to our guests.”
This positive thinking certainly chimes with the broad consumer trends around the acceptance of buying second-hand goods in the UK – especially among younger consumers – that are being fuelled by both the cost-of-living crisis and a greater awareness of environmental concerns among the mainstream population. Evidence to support this can be seen from recent research that shows second-hand clothing enjoyed a 15% year-on-year increase between January and March 2023, according to the Charity Retail Association.