The number of charity shops is soaring in the West Midlands - sparking fears small independent businesses are disappearing from the high street.
An exclusive analysis of figures from NOMIS shows that in 2017 there were 375 charity shops in the metropolitan area, 39 per cent more compared to the 270 registered in 2010.
Solihull saw the biggest increase locally - charity shops went up by 75 per cent in seven years from 20 to 35.
Birmingham followed with an increase of 61 per cent from 90 to 145 while the number of charity shops in Walsall has increased by 50 per cent from 20 to 30.
Across the UK, charity shops have soared by a third, or 32 per cent, from 8,550 to 11,260.
According to chartered accountants Kreston Reeves, which ran a charity shops survey in 2016, “charity shops generally perform best during a recession".
As their report says, "the Brexit vote is a bright spot on the horizon for charity shops as many commentators believe it may return the country to recession.”
Charity shops pay only 20 per cent of the standard business rates which makes it easier for them to take over premises that might otherwise stay empty.
"It is an environmentally-friendly way to shop and the public is always keen for a bargain"
Commenting on the national trend, a Charity Retail Association spokesperson said: “The success in raising charity shop numbers is down to many factors.
"It is an environmentally-friendly way to shop and the public is always keen for a bargain.
“Our research shows that the amount of charity shops in one particular area is not linked to deprivation.
"The UK public is always generous when it comes to raising money for charity and we see no sign of that declining.”