• Short Summary

    England appears to have become Europe's bargain basement. Shoppers from European Economic Community (EEC) countries?

  • Description

    England appears to have become Europe's bargain basement. Shoppers from European Economic Community (EEC) countries have launched an invasion, coming in bargain hunting waves with ready cash to take advantage of the recent slump in sterling.

    SYNOPSIS: Paris -- once eyed enviously by British shoppers -- has been almost forsaken by the French shoppers.

    Garments with the prestigious Parisian label also have a prestigious Parisian price tag.

    West Germans are particularly keen on shopping in Britain. With high prices in centers like Frankfurt, they have decided that their deutsche marks go a lot further when they're converted into sterling. Buying expeditions have it all lai??? on for them -- including special charter flights to Gatwick Airport, outside London. The West Germans have obviously decided that it's cheaper spending a day or two shopping in Britain, even after the air fares and accommodation costs have been taken into account.

    France's economy isn't quite as strong as West Germany's and they don't have as far to come. So the Calais-Dover ferry replaces the charter flights. These cross-channel safaris have hunters armed with shopping bags and cases. Buses pick them up in Dover and take them into the bargain zones, where the real action takes place. The buses go to a number of centres. Many make the round trip to London and back.

    Oxford Street, London, specialises in one thing -- shops. Stretching through London's famous West End, Oxford Street is a continental shopper's paradise. Top quality products at reasonable prices -- once you have the advantage of currency exchange rates.

    Shoppers wander from store to store. They buy a wide range of goods from food and clothing to refrigerators and television sets. Store managers welcome them and regard the current boom as unprecedented. One department store manager said that foreign shoppers seem "to be going mad." Shoppers interviewed by Visnews said they were amazed by the prices of British goods.

    Export Bureaus have been doing a roaring trade with shoppers who buy things too big to carry back on planes and boats.

    Everyone seems to be cashing in on the shopping boom.

    But not all the pilgrims make the journey to the West End. Many are content to plunder the chain stores in Dover and other harbour towns. Recently, channel ferries have been landing in Dover at the rate of several an hour -- carrying an estimated ten times the passenger vehicle traffic than is usual at this time of the year. Each ferry is carrying an average 100 cars instead of 25, and about 800 passengers instead of the normal 90 or so.

    Shoe shops -- in particular -- showed up the price differences between Britain and the continent Dover Retails Traders' Association Chairman Ted Smith spoke about the shoppers' other man targets.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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