A CHARITY shop in Edinburgh raked £5000 in just two hours yesterday - after thrifty shoppers snapped up an array of top designer goods including Jimmy Choo shoes and Hermes scarves at a fraction of their original price.

Around 100 bargain hunters formed a queue outside the Shelter shop in leafy Stockbridge before the doors opened at 10am for its 17th annual New Year sale.

Early birds rummaged for designer brands including Vivienne Westwood, Liberty and Mulberry, and one of the first items off the shelves was a pair of Jimmy Choo stilettos, for £80.

The shop raked in £1500 in less than 30 minutes and £5000 in the first two hours of the sale, which will continue for a week.

The most expensive item -- a rare Art Nouveau book signed and illustrated by the Czech painter and graphic artist Alphonse Mucha, numbered 228 one of only 252 copies produced in 1900 -- was snapped up by the first customer through the door, for £500. A first edition Winnie the Pooh was sold for just £10.

Other collectables ranged from Liberty ties to a 1970s Sindy doll bathroom suite; and a selection of cult games including Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder.

A portrait of the actor Laurence Olivier by fellow thespian Antony Sher, titled "Olivier’s Dream", was available in the window for £200. In the book department, "The Woman's Book", containing "everything a woman ought to know" remained available for £30.

All of the items had been donated to the shop in recent months.

Shop manager Pete Jew, who has organised the sale since its inception, was blown away by the success. He said: "This is the biggest day in our year by far and this is the busiest ever -- there are three times the number of people we get normally on the opening day of the sale and we can't get everybody in at once.

"It's fantastic -- I only wish we had a shop three times the size. It's an exciting shopping experience unlike any other because nobody knows what's for sale until we remove the tissue paper from the window for the big reveal.

"This annual event can only happen because of the generosity of our customers and supporters. I've been here 20 years and the community loyalty is enormous. People really want to support Shelter at this time of the year."

Cinzia Pusceddu, 53, who grabbed a mirror for her house nearby, said: "I joined the queue about 20 minutes before the shop opened and the line was along the street.

"It's a small shop and it was a bit crazy but I managed to get a nice mirror -- it's £30 but it's a good one and very well made."

Graeme Sneddon, 57, spent about £50 on a selection of classic rock LPs. The marketing director, who lives locally, said: "I come in most weeks and buy vinyl, but they save some of the best ones for the January sale.

"I've got Hawkwind, Neil Young, The Who, Deep Purple and an album I've never seen before by a band called Mountain, but it looked interesting. I'm taking the day off to listen to them now. The Hawkwind was £15 -- it's worth about £50 but I won't sell it."

Abby Richards, 27, who spent £40 on a painting of irises for her new home in the city, said: "I've just moved in to a big old house with lots of blank walls so I've got a nice picture of flowers to help fill them. I don't know if it's worth anything but it's a good cause."

Ali Devine, 54, who queued with her family, said: "We spent £40. I picked up a lovely Hermes scarf for £10 so whoever donated it, thank you very much.

"My husband got some shoe trees and our daughter Zoe got some furry Ugg slippers. We're delighted. It was manic but everyone was friendly and we enjoyed the experience."

Ailene Young, Shelter's Head of Retail for Scotland, said: "This is the highest turnover day that the charity has for a shop in Scotland.

"It's been absolutely phenomenal. There was a grey Vivienne Westwood coat that I had my eye on but it was away within minutes and I'm delighted about that.

"It's all about making as much money for Shelter Scotland and its work to help homelessness."

The shop has been a fixture in the city's Raeburn Place since 1981, but the New Year sale of donated designer items has become an annual highlight in recent years.

All funds raised go towards Shelter Scotland’s work to help homeless and badly housed households across Scotland.

The charity runs a free national helpline which provides support and advice to people struggling with their housing.