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01st Aug 2022

British shoppers pay up to 50 per cent more than those in EU ‘thanks to Brexit’

Jack Peat

Prices at popular high-street shops are going through the roof 

British shoppers are having to endure vastly higher prices at popular high-street outlets thanks to the effects of Brexit, a Guardian Money investigation has revealed.

A snapshot survey of pan-European stores shows many of them are charging more for the same items in Britain, and none are charging less.

In some cases, such as with fashion outlet Zara, shoppers are being charged as much as 50 per cent more than in Spain, while Decathlon charges UK consumers around £278 more for their popular e-bike, which Brits could get for a snip if they popped across the channel and bought it in Dieppe.

The sporting goods outlet largely blamed Brexit for the price differentials.

It said: “The UK’s exit from the European Union has made it more expensive to import stock. It also meant that Decathlon UK had to expand the size of the supply team in order to deal with the additional administration, costs and duties associated with Britain’s exit from the customs union.

“In the UK specifically, we have the obvious challenges involved in dealing with constantly changing exchange rates, coupled with the post-Brexit burden of having to pay import duties twice on a number of products (once as goods enter the EU, and again once they enter the UK).”

Other stores that charge a comparatively cheaper price on the continent included Ikea, where a basic Klippan two-seater sofa in dark grey is £279 (€327) in the UK, but €259 in Germany and €249 in France – almost a third cheaper.

The furniture chain pointed to “transport, logistical costs and local market conditions” as reasons behind the fluctuating prices.

The Guardian pointed out that its survey had “substantial limitations” in that it “only compared prices on a relatively small number of identical items at each retailer, and comparative prices for the UK are subject to change according to daily fluctuations in the euro-sterling exchange rate”.

But they added that it was “notable” that shoppers in Britain are paying “either significantly more, or largely the same, as shoppers elsewhere in Europe”.

“Rarely did we find examples of prices that were lower in the UK than on the continent.”

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