Cash for Clothes store in Hull's Hessle Road offers new way of recycling
AS HIGH street trends go, it's still relatively new.
But the chances are that a shop offering cash for clothes will soon be opening near you.
Three shops have opened in Hull in recent months, the first in a prime site in Hessle Road overlooking the Boulevard junction.
Inside, plastic bags packed full of clothes cover most of the floor.
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Behind the counter is shop manager Andrius Labanavicius.
"It is a very simple concept," says the Lithuanian, who has lived in the UK for nearly two years.
"People come here with their clothes, we weigh them and buy at 50p per kilo.
"They leave with some money to spend on what they wish and we recycle the clothing for people who need it. Everyone is happy."
Andrius, who works for Fox Recycling, says most of the clothes are either sent to Eastern Europe or Africa.
The company started with a shop in Leicester four months ago and is expanding rapidly.
As well as the Hull shop, Andrius also manages a shop in Goole and there are plans for a second shop in the city next month in Holderness Road.
Setting up in direct competition with charity shops, he's keen to point out the difference.
"We are a company not a charity," he said. "We do make some money from this, but it covers our costs for staff and rent."
He agrees the idea of selling your old clothes is a sign of hard economic times.
"It is a reflection of what is going on in the economy.
"People are losing their jobs or their wages are being cut. They are seeking new ways of making a little bit of money."
The idea of the business was triggered by the widespread theft of bags of donated clothing left for doorstep collections.
He said: "We found up to 70 per cent of bags were being stolen by thieves, so we thought about how we could make it easier for people to recycle their old clothing."
Next to a big sign showing what items are accepted, there is another sign indicating items that aren't.
The latter includes wet clothes.
"One customer came in with a very big suitcase dripping with water," recalled Andrius.
"Inside all clothing was soaking wet. He was hoping to get more money because it was so heavy, but I told him we could not accept it.
"He was quite mad about it and said he was going to fly-tip it all outside, which he did."
As well as shops, the company is also planning to roll out secure clothing banks at schools.
Charity shops fear impact
CHARITY shops could feel the pinch as more cash-for-clothes stores open across the region.
Auction websites such as eBay have previously been blamed for taking business away from charity shops.
Now, a new competitor is actually appearing on the high street.
"It is like the new version of eBay for us, but worse," said Isabelle Adams, projects and policy officer at the Charity Retail Association, which represents more than 300 charities across the UK.
"People in the past have found they can sell some of their clothes online, but they only usually do it if they have a couple of special items they want to get rid of.
"But these kinds of stores are a way for them to make some money out of whole bags of clothes."
She said the rising value of textiles had made it easier for firms to make money out of old clothes.