First-Ever Oxfam Superstore

Retail Design
Charity Retail

Oxfam constantly looks for ways to optimise retail, so stores and online work harder to raise valuable funds and engage visitors in the charity’s life-saving work. The new Oxfam Superstore, created by Start Design, is designed to do just this. Located in Oxfam’s home town of Oxford, where its first shop opened in 1948, Oxfam Superstore is a vibrant, fun destination, with community at its heart and Oxfam’s vital cause unifying the shopping experience.

Second-hand is second-to-none

Start Design has worked with Oxfam for five years and created its current award-winning retail concept, now rolled-out across many of its 600 high street stores in the UK. Oxfam Superstore reimagines the existing concept, bringing it bang up-to-date by evolving key elements for more impact within larger spaces. Complete with café, event spaces, kids area, market stalls and drive-through donation point, the Oxfam Superstore, at 18,500 sq ft, is 12 times larger than Oxfam’s average store size. Packed full of quality preloved, donated items, as well as the charity’s own ‘Sourced by Oxfam’ range, the Superstore is a treasure trove for visitors, and a first of its kind for charity retail that sets the bar for what a 21 st Century charity store can be.

A Social Hub for the Community

Our starting point was Oxfam’s core retail proposition: a shop first and foremost, where people can find things that they love, but a place for the local community, bringing the power of people to help the fight against poverty. Local groups and social enterprises are able to use the Water Tank Café and event spaces and marketplace stalls are available to local ethical B Corps to sell their goods. Oxfam is emerging as an unlikely rising star in the UK’s fast-growing online fashion scene, increasingly casting canny eyes over branded cast-offs and vintage styles donated to its shops every day. Oxfam Superstore has a large mezzanine devoted to online sales. Here Oxfam selects and photographs high-value preloved and vintage fashion items, sought-after homewares and books to post to its online.

The store is designed to consistently deliver all elements of a great shopping experience, whilst constantly reminding visitors, at every touchpoint, the difference we can make by shopping, donating and volunteering at Oxfam. Throughout, positive cause-related messaging layers with impactful retail communications to inspire and guide shoppers. Customer water taps are the same ones used by Oxfam to get clean water to disaster areas. Situated right by the entrance, the Water Tank Café is encased in a water tower used by Oxfam in the field. Colourful rugs, blankets and baskets from the ‘Sourced by Oxfam’ range are used in the café, on seating and throughout the space. Oxfam’s trading director, Andrew Horton says, ‘Our aim is for this to be an enjoyable and fun ‘destination’ shopping experience. This new store has the Wow factor, customers are able to shop ethically, but we want people to linger, to chat over coffee. The cafe is at the heart of our new community space where we host free talks and events’.