The mass swell of shoppers across the border continues, and with Christmas fast approaching, it’s going to turn into a flood.
Today’s Pricewatch questions the difference in prices in major supermarkets operating in the Republic and the north, pointing out that a recent Consumer Association of Ireland (CAI) survey showed that a basket of goods in Tesco is 18% more expensive south of the border. The retailers claim it’s all down to the higher cost of doing business in the Republic. Dermot Jewell of the CAI is not convinced, and is calling for retailers to be forced to disclose their profits.
Meanwhile, today’s Liveline was hopping with callers debating the rights and wrongs of a new poster campaign to lure the Republic’s shoppers to Belfast this Christmas. The Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise Mary Coughlan has called for people to stop supporting “her majesty’s goverment”. I’m not sure this is helpful in any way. While of course most people want to support the local economy and help protect jobs, it’s completely understandable that they don’t really have a choice but to shop up north: it’s much cheaper and money is tight.
Also in the Irish Times, a survey of behaviour and attitudes found that 55% of us are now buying more own brand grocery products, while 53% are spreading our shopping over a greater number of outlets to find better value. Unsurprisingly, we’re also eating out less.
How have you changed your shopping habits over the past year? Are you cross-border shopping, or can you afford not to?