Op shops Vs Kmart: Which is cheaper?

AN AVID op-shopper of 15 years, Kathy Fielding knows a thing or two about snagging a bargain.

The Springfield Lakes mum of two (soon to be three) is a pin-up model and sources all of her clothing from op-shops around Ipswich and Greater Brisbane.

She said while she supported the work these charities were doing, she had noticed a significant increase in prices and was concerned shopping at op-shops was becoming unaffordable.

"It's become popular and trendy to shop at op shops and charity stores and some of the stores have decided to take advantage of this trend by selectively picking out vintage or well-known labels, marking them at a higher cost," Mrs Fielding said.

"I've also seen furniture labelled at higher selling costs than what could be purchased on Gumtree or via Facebook selling sites.

Springfield Lakes mother Kathy Fielding is a Rockabilly pin-up model and sources all of her clothes from op-shops.
Springfield Lakes mother Kathy Fielding is a Rockabilly pin-up model and sources all of her clothes from op-shops.

"Even some of the worn clothing and shoes are being sold for $15 or $20 a piece and children's tee shirts are at around $4-$5, whereas somewhere like Kmart will sell them for $3 or less."

Mrs Fielding believed the higher prices were having an impact on middle to low income families who relied on cheap prices to get them through.

A St Vincent De Paul spokesperson said the organisation endeavoured to get the best value from all of the items donated to raise funds to assist as many people as possible.

"Vinnies shops exist to provide a shopping experience with every dollar raised going back into the local community," they said.

"We believe our donors are generously providing these items to assist us in helping the wider community and items are priced based on their quality and fair value.

"When we receive a rare or unique item, we thoroughly research its value. We never want to over-price items, but we are mindful of fair value and careful not to under-price unique and valuable items.

"Like all retail operations Vinnies has retail costs associated with running a business to cover from our shops to ensure that we can remain in the community to help people in need."

Individuals who request assistance through the St Vincent De Paul helpline can either receive a gift card or voucher free of charge to use at any store to clothe themselves and their families.

Springfield is part of Vinnies Queensland's Western Brisbane Diocese which provided support to 39,154 people in the past financial year.