Irish shoppers pay 33% more than London counterparts

Irish shoppers are forking out up to a third more than their British counterparts for many items in shops.

A survey by The Consumer Show reveals customers on the country’s premier shopping thoroughfare, Grafton St, are shelling out far more than a shopper on London’s Oxford St.

In one case, a Bodyshop eau de toilette was almost 50% dearer in Dublin than the exact item in the English capital, while a Topman jacket was 35% more expensive.

RTÉ presenter Kathriona Devereux, who carried out the investigation with co-presenter Tadhg Enright, said she was shocked by the price differential in some stores.

“We all have this feeling that we are paying over the odds compared to our UK friends and neighbours and we are,” she said.

“We checked it out with me on Grafton St and Tadhg on Oxford St at the same time, and the average price difference of all the items we looked at on the big high street chains was 30%.

“I was totally shocked. We looked at over 70 items on the high street and they were all more expensive, except for one or two items. It was so consistent. We are being charged considerably more in many cases after you convert the prices into the same currency.

“After doing it, I would totally think about the money I am spending and if I am being charged more than they are in the UK.

“We want people to shop in Irish shops and support Irish jobs, but it is difficult when everybody wants to make every penny count.”

In the survey, a Topman Mustard Parka was €150 in Dublin but only £95 (€111.15) in London.

With the currency conversion, the jacket cost €38.85 more in Ireland

At make-up counters, a Mac Studio Fix foundation was priced at €31.50 in Dublin but only £20.50 (€23.98) in London.

“We spoke to some representatives of the industry, who said the cost of doing business in Ireland in higher,” said Ms Devereux. “A lot of the rents are set at Celtic Tiger prices and there is said to be a higher cost of wages and in general these are the accepted reasons in the industry.

“In general, it’s more expensive to do business in Ireland and then there is a distribution cost of getting something from the UK to Ireland.”

However, style guru Darren Kennedy said savvy shoppers can look online for the same goods.

“Very simply, if you are shopping in any of the high street stores, just go onto their .co.uk website and have a look,” he said. “Bear in mind that you have to pay for delivery.”

Stephen Lynam, director of Retail Ireland, told the show consumers will be looking to buy the goods at cheaper prices if Irish stores are more expensive.

“The consumer is king and the consumer has the right to shop around for the best value and spend their hard-earned euro wherever they want to,” said Mr Lynam.

* The Consumer Show is on RTÉ One at 8.30pm tonight.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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