Even charity shops are struggling to survive in South Shields

Charity does not begin at home in South Tyneside – with fundraising shops in the borough’s main retail area facing tough times.

The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals’ outlet in King Street, South Shields, closed its doors at the weekend.

A spokesman for the charity said it had a temporary lease and had decided not to renew after it ran out.

Apart from removing a source of much-needed income for the charity, the move also leaves yet another vacant premises in the town centre.

It is just the latest retailer to call it a day in the once-thriving street – and others admit they are struggling.

Despite some claims that King Street is “full of charity shops” there are now only two fundraising premises there – Marie Curie Cancer Care and the British Heart Foundation.

However, both outlets say they are facing challenges amid falling footfall and the “M&S factor”.

The iconic retailer’s exit from the town earlier this year is having a negative ripple effect on fellow retailers.

Lisa Burles, manager of the BHS shop, said:

“The closure of Marks & Spencer hit us really badly and the footfall in King Street has fallen significantly.

“We have really struggled since March when the shop had a refit. We had a better month last month because of the weather, but we have dipped again.

“You just have to look at the till transactions to see the reduction in customer numbers. Having said that, we’ve been here 20 years and we’re not intending to go anywhere soon.”

A PDSA spokesperson said:

“Our South Shields shop on King Street was run on a temporary lease. We always review all our shops when their leases come up for renewal. We often have to make difficult decisions to ensure the kind donations we receive are used most effectively and, regrettably on this occasion, we had to close our South Shields shop.

“We are extremely grateful for the dedication of all our staff and volunteers, and for the loyalty of our customers in South Shields. We would also like to reassure pet owners in the area that PDSA’s veterinary services are unaffected by this decision.”

A spokeswoman for Marie Curie Cancer Care shop, beside the street’s Metro station, said: “We’re getting by, but it’s a tough climate out there.”

Source – Shields Gazette, 18 Sept 2014


  1. Pingback: Even charity shops are struggling to survive in South Shields
    • untynewear

      Yes, you’re spot on – many charity shops are at least partly the authors of their own misfortune, by forgetting their core reason for existence and chasing the middle class pound. It certainly happened in South Shields, I used to go on the occasional trawl there, but for the most part its now pointless. Some very local charities still adhere to the “we got it free so we can sell it cheap” philosophy, but those aren’t usually to be found in the town centres.

      Someone (can’t recall where I originally saw it) put the blame on that Mary Portias (? spelling) woman, who apparently did some tv series where she took over some charity shop and showed them how they could make so much more by chasing the middle classes instead of the poor who, by definition, have little money. “Oooh yes !” said all the charity managing directors.

      But in places like South Shields the middle classes never came, and the poor couldn’t afford the new prices. Of course, nothing to stop them reverting to selling cheap again, but that idea doesn’t seem to have occurred to them

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