It seems that more and more charities are opening up dedicated discount stores, whilst the concept has always existed they seem a lot more prominent on our high streets. With the increase of charity shops and the growth of individual charities shop portfolios, it makes sense to for a charity to be maximising its donations through a discount shop. More and more will be popping up perhaps capitalising on the general increase of discount retailers on our high streets, you can’t go far these days without passing a pound shop.
The main type of item your going to find in a discount store is clothing, sitting along side the usual items of a general store. I have yet to come across a ‘specialist’ charity shop that has become a discount store. I would quite like to see a few discount charity bookshops popping up, instead of the small charity shop offering of rather sad module of 4 books for £1 in among clothing departments. A well presented shop full of sale books would certainly find a market.
One of the most visible charities that has been increasing its number of discount stores is Barnardos, with quite a number of them dotted around the country. The stores offer a block pricing approach often of £1.99. Having visited a few of these stores, I found that they were not full of amazing bargains or items that could have been worth a few pounds more. The stock all looked like it was worth £1.99, which is fine but not exactly what I think customers would be hoping to find. Generally it seemed like the shop was just selling all of its lower end items and perhaps sending on their better items to other shops. In terms of layouts the stores needed better merchandising, just because items are cheap doesn’t mean they can’t be displayed with some creativity and the store fronts only have some posters to let customers know that they are offering cheap deals.
A fresh discount store popping up is the Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s shop, looking like its going to be offering a variety of prices, where the customer might pick up bargain. The store front looks slick and attractive, discounts don’t have to mean downmarket displays.
Cancer Research also has some discount stores, in Northampton they had two shops, one was a general store selling their items at a range of prices with some quality clothing, then just up the road they have a discount store where items were all on sale. The stock quality was quite mixed and similarly to Barnardos the stock looked worth the price they were asking for it on the clothing, the better bargains were to be had on the homewares and book offerings. The weren’t any clues from the window of the store that this was a discount store other than a few stickers.
If a store isn’t becoming a dedicated discount store there are a few that are briefly offering up a similar model, the Mind Shop in Stockport is offering block priced clothing. There is a range of prices and everything is merchandised very clearly inside the shop. The window shouts out that there are bargains to be had and still looks pretty.
In a slightly different kind of style of discount store is one of the latest FARA shops, the Islington branch is billed as a shop where customers can discover some surprises among the bricolage and ‘jumble of sales’ of retro, damaged designer, discardigans and much, much more. There are so many clothes that get donated that just need a bit of alteration or some sewing but often these can get discarded in busy charity shops, so this seems like a great idea for crafty folk.
With more discount stores popping up, let us know what you think of their merchandising. It would be great to see some pictures of shops that were all embracing merchandising themselves up as a discount store. Surely a window display in a discount store should be very strong to be bringing in customers..