Donations to Oxfam have slumped as people opt to hang on to clothes in the recession.
Profitability at Oxfam's shops has risen by 10%. However the 730-store chain is struggling to find enough stock to fill its shops, as shoppers fail to buy new clothes and opt to keep wearing older items already in their wardrobes.
Profits are set to match last year's £20 million, but Oxfam head of trading David McCullough said that the profits were not caused by a cash strapped shoppers trading down.
He told The Financial Times newspaper: "It's one of the myths that in a recession it's boom time for charity shops. In fact, discretionary spending on items such as Christmas cards, gifts and add-on items is very tight, just like the rest of the high street."
In the 1990s downturn the charity's profit dropped 40%, rather than the projected 40% increase.
Oxfam opened three fashion stores in the West End and launched a partnership with Marks & Spencer which included giving away a £5 M&S voucher for donated clothes. it also launched a collection service, which has helped boost performance.