Belfast Telegraph

Republic of Ireland shoppers come north in search of sterling bargains

Car parks in Londonderry and Newry have been filling up with shoppers from south of the border seeking to make large savings on a range of goods.

From cars to computers and coats to cots, the rise of the euro against sterling is already sending shockwaves through businesses and their employees in the Republic.

But it's good news for traders north of the border and for hard-pressed Irish families looking for an early Christmas bargain.

A snap survey of UK-owned retail stores with branches on both sides of the border gives a taste of the savings being made.

Even in a retailer like Halfords, with a solid reputation for almost price-matching items either side of the frontier, the sterling slide is starting to show up.

A Boardman MX Comp bike in its RoI stores sells for €711 (£640.22) while it's €665.22 (£599) in the Northern Ireland, a saving of €45.78 (£41).

There are similar savings across all bikes in that range - however a more expensive Boardman Hybrid Team bike can be purchased for €75 (£67.53) cheaper - a saving of 10%.

Other items in Halfords are now significantly cheaper, with a €54.13 (£48.74) saving on a Karcher pressure washer.

Irish retailers also operate both sides of the border and Smyths Toys is one of them.

A range of items are cheaper in its Northern Irish shops - thanks mainly to the exchange rate brought on by the Brexit vote.

The X Box One S 1TB with FIFA bundle which sells in its southern shops for €379.99 (£342.16) is the equivalent of €338.99 (£305.25) north of the border, a saving of €41 (£36.91).

However, the PlayStation 4 Slim with FIFA bundle is just €4 cheaper in Northern Ireland.

Other items which will be popular on Santa lists this year were also cheaper. A 13ft trampoline with enclosure is €46.60 (£41.96) cheaper, there is a €13.50 (£12.16) saving on the Barbie Malibu Mall with dolls, and a €9.80 (£8.82) saving on a popular Nikko remote control car.

You can save €24 (£21.61) on a Kettler go-kart and the same saving on a Star Wars Lego set.

A customer buying all these goods priced by us at Smyths would save €162.90 (£146.68) in Northern Ireland.

The store also stocks a wide range of babycare products. A popular pram - the Grace Evo Chilli Stroller - costs €225.99 (£203.49) in the north, €49 (£44.12) cheaper than in the south.

Meanwhile, a selection of clothes at Topshop were all considerably cheaper in their Northern Irish stores.

They included two faux fur coats which were €15.55 (£14) and €24.43 (£22) cheaper respectively.

Items in the shop's designer range offer even more savings. A Mixed Print Funnel Dress by Boutique cost €180 (£162.08) in the south but €144.37 (£130) in the north.

Many Marks & Spencer's items were also much cheaper in Northern Ireland, although the company did ditch its £1 to €1.50 pricing base several years ago.

A tailored men's suit in its Belfast store will cost you €203.40 (£183.15) - but the same suit in Dublin will cost you €270 (£243.12).

M&S Ladies' Wide Fit Leather Classic Knee Boots are €140 (£126.06) in southern shops but €111.87 (£99) in Northern Ireland, while a pure Cashmere jumper on sale in the south for €99 (£89.14) can be bought across the border for €83.29 (£75).

Furniture retail giant DFS is known for its sales and its bargains, but with the slide of sterling, prices in the north are even more competitive.

Customers from Donegal visiting its store in Derry's Waterside are even offered free delivery on all items of furniture.

Buying a high end Loch Leven traditional sofa can pocket you a saving of €566.13 over buying the same sofa in Dublin.

But there are savings even on the lowest range, with a €122.03 (£109.88) saving in Derry on the same Haze three-seater sofa sold in the Republic - €409.79 (£369) in the north and €539 (£485.34) in the south.

Currys PC World has, in recent years, kept prices on each side of the border as close to each other as possible. But that is changing now too - an iPad Pro 32GB is €78.63 (£70) cheaper in its Derry shop.

Belfast Telegraph