M&S partners with eBay and Oxfam for pre-loved kids’ clothes scheme

Image: M&S

The British high-street retailer has offered Shwopping boxes in stores since 2008. Customers are encouraged to deposit clothing they no longer use for donation via Oxfam.

Now, in partnership with Oxfam and also eBay, dedicated boxes for school uniforms are being added to more than 200 M&S stores across the UK. Customers will receive a 20% discount on childrens’ clothing for donating.

Items of clothing that are donated will be quality checked and either sent for resale in one of Oxfam’s charity shops or sold on eBay’s dedicated online store from pre-loved school uniforms.

M&S said in a statement that the intention is to give more families access to quality school uniforms ahead of the new school year, amid the cost-of-living crisis.

The Children’s Society estimates that parents spend an average of £287 per year on uniform for primary-aged children and £422 per year for those in secondary schools.

The scheme will also keep uniforms from becoming waste, thus contributing to the retailer’s sustainability ambitions. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that 73% of the clothing manufactured in 2015 will be landfilled or incinerated. Recycling rates for fashion are low because most garments are now made using fabric blends that include synthetics, which are challenging to recycle.

Oxfam’s retail director Lorna Fallon said: “[This] scheme is a win-win initiative and a simple way for shoppers to make a huge difference. Donating pre-loved school uniforms through the scheme is not only better for the environment, since it gives garments a longer lifecycle, it also raises funds for Oxfam’s life-saving work, and it helps parents here in the UK who may be struggling with the cost of kitting their children out for school.”

According to GlobalData, the clothes resale market in the UK grew by 149% between 2016 and 2022. It is forecast to rise by 67.5% from 2022 to 2026.

Related feature: Can businesses close the loop to respond to the cost-of-living crisis?

Related feature: Could 2023 be a tipping point for the second-hand tech market?

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