Cost of living keeps Hospice NZ stores busy

Thu, Jan 26
File image: Hospice shop.

Hospice NZ stores across the country are noting an uptick in customers coming through their doors searching for a bargain.

By Emma Hildesley

Store managers say they've seen a significant increase in customers and believe it could partly be due to the rising cost of living.

"We are seeing more people op-shopping in general and people new to the op-shopping scene," said Otago Community Hospice retail manager Cat Callanan.

"The cost of living crisis will definitely be influencing people as op shops are amazing value."

While individual retailers may have noticed more customers at their own stores, Hospice NZ’s financial statistics for the last year paint a very different picture.

Hospice NZ reported its 2022 retail margin from stores was almost the same as 2020 when they were impacted by severe Covid restrictions.

"Overall, Hospice retail revenue decreased by $5.5 million over the year, a decrease of 10%," they said.

"At the same time, the cost of running the second-hand shops increases every year; between 2021-2022, the increase was $1.5 million."

As well as this, stores are seeing the quality of items being donated decrease as consumers opt to hold onto their items or sell them for cash.

Auckland Financial Advisor David Verry said: "People who would have typically donated or sold their items at a knocked down price are thinking they won't buy something new; they'll hang onto their items for another twelve months if it still has life in it."

"If people have a budget as to how much they can donate, whether that be items or cash, and something has to give, donations to charity are usually the first thing to go."

Auckland Budget Services David Verry spoke on Wednesday about the cost of living.

Tairāwhiti Hospice manager Brenda says that her store has noticed fewer "high value" items have been donated lately.

"Donations are still pouring in the door, but I will say the quality has gone down slightly," she said.

"We are not getting the larger furniture items and feel that people are maybe selling these items themselves to make some money."

Verry said the shift towards second-hand shopping is not surprising given the financial climate.

"Most costs we’ve seen have gone up; transport costs and just getting things to and from New Zealand are very high, so that has to translate to higher costs in the shops.

"If you go and buy something new off the rack, the price of that item will, without a doubt, have gone up."

Verry said people who have historically been 'middle income' households are starting to take a closer look at their finances coming into 2023.

“It's a whole new group of people who are finally having to look at their budgets and start cutting back on things."

His advice is to snag a second-hand bargain as "bluntly, often people don’t know it’s second hand unless you tell them!"


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