Got a call from Newstalk yesterday asking me to comment on their survey of the difference between the cost of clothes in euro on sale here and the price of the same items in sterling on sale in the North and in the rest of the UK. The results of their survey are as follows with the sterling price, the current euro price here and what the price should be based on the value of the euro against the sterling.
- Black Skirt - £19.99 - e29.90 (Exchange Rate e23.27)
- Knee Length Coat - £75 - e113 ( Exchange Rate e87.29)
- Silver Knee Length Dress - £65 - e 94 (Exchange Rate e75.65)
- Black T-shirt with frill - £25 - e38 (Exchange Rate e29.10)
- Multi coloured stripped shit £70 - e100 (Exchange Rate e81.47)
- Washbag £35 - e50 (Exchange Rate e40.67)
- Coat £85 - e120 (Exchange Rate e98.76)
I subsequently did a piece on their breakfast show this morning. This is not news to many of you I am sure, we are all sick and tired of seeing the sterling price and then the hugely inflated euro price. I pointed out that the euro prices are based on the 2007 value of the euro when the it was worth about 66p to 67p. The euro has strengthened considerably since the start of 2008 and is now worth about 85 pence sterling
When CAI raised this issue back in March we were told that there was a time lag and the currency fluctuations would be reflected in the prices after about 6 months, however almost a year later nothing has changed. There is nothing illegal about what these retailers are doing, but it is still galling. I suppose they are charging what they think we will pay. If consumers want to effect change, the best thing to do is to take your business to another shop or else go across the Border as many thousands are doing.
I know some people have said to me can I not pay in sterling to get around this, unfortunately this is a non-runner, there is no legal obligation on retailers to accept sterling. However both the media and consumer advocates can keep the pressure on by highlighting the difference and if consumers continue to vote with the feet the retailers will have to respond.