A CHARITY shop is facing the axe because chiefs say it is not making enough money.

Takings at the Oxfam store in Victoria Road, Aldershot, have been falling for the last five years and now its future is hanging in the balance.

The charity requires its outlets to contribute around £750 each week to its national cause but the Aldershot store, which averages £400 each week, is falling well short of that target.

A decision on whether to close is likely to be made in April at the end of the financial year.

If the axe does fall, it would closely follow the closure of Oxfam's Fleet shop, which folded in December as its lease expired.

But Aldershot's volunteer manager Sheila Skinner is determined to attract new customers through the door in a bid to keep her shop alive.

She also wants more volunteers to come forward so that the shop can extend its opening hours.

It is currently open from 10am until 4pm Monday to Friday and 10am until 1pm on Saturday.

The store first opened in Victoria Road in the late 1980s selling a variety of goods and clothing.

However, bosses recently withdrew the clothing range after sales failed to take off and the shop began specialising in bargain-price books.

But Mrs Skinner said: "To bring in hundreds of pounds a week at 79p a book you need an awful lot of customers."

Prices have now gone up slightly but the shop, which has ten volunteer workers, is still struggling to meet its target.

"It's improving but too slowly," said Mrs Skinner.

"People do come in more often now and they are the people who know what they are looking for. But so far it has been too slow and we haven't got the momentum going really."

"We would be devastated if the shop closed because it would feel as though we were being dumped with it," she added.

"The takings have been going down for the last five years and it took [Oxfam] a long time to do anything about it.

"Now they are expecting miracles. We are doing our best but we can't do miracles."

The shop stocks a range of rare books that are often not available elsewhere, and many that are out of print.

Volunteers also keep a list of books that customers are looking for and contact them as soon as they become available.

Mrs Skinner is hoping that the store's reputation for customer service could prove to be its saviour.

"We need people to come in and spread the word," she said.

She is also calling for volunteers interested in particular subjects to help sort out the shop's book range.

Anyone interested in helping out can call in at the shop or contact Mrs Skinner on 01252 331696.