Belfast Telegraph

Republic's shoppers plan day trips to Northern Ireland

By Brian Byrne

Almost a quarter of consumers in the Republic are planning a shopping trip to Northern Ireland this Christmas to avail of the 5.5% lower VAT rate.

The AA discovered that 24% of drivers in the south will cross the border between now and December 25, with 53% purchasing groceries and 40% buying alcohol.

Just under 40% plan to purchase clothes, 26% are seeking out deals on electrical goods, and almost a quarter will buy toys.

While nearly 40% of those in Donegal said they would make the trip, that dropped to less than 2% for people living in Cork.

AA spokesman Conor Faughnan said that while consumers in border counties are taking advantage of their proximity "it's still a huge loss for retailers".

"Retailers here face a 5.5% difference between VAT in the Republic and Northern Ireland which is certainly a factor," he said.

While consumers travelling to the north are set to make a saving, the AA warned that fuel for the 336-km round trip between Dublin and Belfast will cost around €49 (£41).

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