The Hospice of St Francis has reported that its charity shops’ trading income over the Christmas period was up from the year before.

The hospice has nine Love to Give charity shops, which includes one in Abbots Langley, Kings Langley and Bovingdon, an ecommerce operation and specialist retailers Number 20 in Lower Kings Road and Returned to Glory on Northbridge Road in Berkhamsted.

For the nine weeks up to December 28, the overall trading income for all like for like shops was up 9 per cent versus the same period last year. The newest addition to the hospice retail group, its Kings Langley shop, also performed very well in its first four months of trading.

Helen Harding, Hospice Trading & Operations Director, said: "Whilst I am absolutely delighted with these results, which mark a really positive performance in a tough trading environment, we can’t be complacent as we look forward to 2014.

"There is a great challenge in retail and we are very reliant on local people for their support. Donated items are the life blood, which drive our sales and people are now keeping items for longer rather than buying new. To ensure buoyant trading which translates into care for our Hospice I would urge everyone to please continue to pass on all unwanted items to us, especially clothes.

"Our retail outlets are a valuable income stream for the hospice and our profits go directly towards supporting our care for people with life-shortening illnesses in West Herts and Bucks. In just nine weeks, our retail arm has enabled us to keep a bed open for a year and fund a number of weeks of nursing care.

"Finally, I would of course like to thank our staff, our legion of shop volunteers and most of all our customers for the contribution they have made towards helping us achieve such a positive trading performance."