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Wednesday, 4 September, 2002, 23:19 GMT 00:19 UK
Booze cruisers 'missing bargains'
Calais shopping mall
Some French prices are better than the UK high street
British shoppers planning to cross the Channel to save money on alcohol and cigarettes are not making the most of big savings on other products, according to a report.

Consumer magazine Which? says consumers can pick up electrical goods, bicycles, and cosmetics at bargain prices.


With so many cheap deals around, consumers could be quids in by cross-Channel shopping

Helen Parker, Which? editor
Alcoholic drinks are cheaper in France and Belgium, mainly because duty tax is lower than in the UK.

But Which? found savings in Calais of 54 on a 187 shaver, 54 on a coffee maker, 132 on a digital camera and 152 on a bicycle.

About 15 million passengers made the short Dover to Calais sea crossing in 2000.

Many went to buy alcohol and tobacco at below British prices, but Which? said many did not think about savings on other products.

Online bargains

Helen Parker, editor of Which?, said: "We found great savings can be made across the board by shopping in France and Belgium - and not just on booze.

"Good deals were found on electrical goods, bicycles, eyewear, perfume and pots and pans.

Which? savings
54 on shavers
54 on coffee makers
132 on digital cameras
152 on bicycles
Source: Which? magazine

"With so many cheap deals around, consumers could be quids in by cross-Channel shopping."

But Which? warned that there were a number of downsides to shopping overseas and advised consumers to look online before travelling as many UK internet retailers match prices charged abroad.

The consumer watchdog said it could also be difficult to compare the price of some electrical goods abroad with UK prices because some products come with extras - such as stands.

Local laws

It added the warning that if consumers have a problem with something bought abroad they may need to send it back to the maker or retailer and any claim is generally subject to the laws of that country.

P & O Stena Line ferry
Why not make it more than a booze cruise?
Not all televisions are cheaper abroad, but Which? found 28-inch widescreen Philips and Sony sets around 20% less at one French store than UK high street stores.

Garden equipment can also be cheaper across the Channel, the magazine found, with a pair of Gardena secateurs at half the UK price.

Which? also discovered a Mongoose adult bicycle in Calais for 152 cheaper than on one particular UK Internet site, and a Black & Decker cordless drill 40% cheaper than in a UK home improvement chain.

See also:

31 Jan 02 | England
31 Jul 02 | Business
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