A POPULAR fairtrade shop in the heart of Oxford has launched an online store to make ‘fair, sustainable and ethical’ shopping easier.

As a non-essential shop, Fairtrade at St Michaels was forced to close its doors to the public for three months during lockdown but marketing manager Feng Ho, who has worked at the store for almost ten years, revealed a new online service was launched.

While Ms Ho confirmed that the Covid-19 crisis has been ‘devastating’ for fairtrade communities, businesses have responded to the pandemic by producing face coverings, instead of bags and accessories.

Since masks were made mandatory on public transport and shops, fairtrade face coverings have been one of the store’s best selling items to date.

Speaking about the shop’s response to the pandemic Ms Ho commented: "There is no doubt that Covid-19 has affected the high street and we must do all we can to support small businesses to keep them afloat.

“Christmas is our busiest time of year, and at Fairtrade at St Michaels, we are encouraging consumers to use their spending power for good.

“Through supporting social enterprises this Christmas, customers can be assured that their money is going back into improving societies locally and globally.”

She added that while nothing can rival the pleasure of a real-life visit to a shop, the crisis poses a challenge for many.

Ms Ho said: “We are proud to be venturing into online retailing with the launch of a click and collect service.”