Tuesday 19 February 2019

M&S profits from exchange 'errors'

Little wonder Marks & Spencer's Mary Street store in Dublin is the most profitable store in the British retail chain -- Irish customers seem prepared to pay whatever price they're asked for.

A customer who went to buy a cashmere jumper last week found a large colourful sticker on it which set the price in sterling as £49.50. A smaller sticker affixed to the larger one said €85.

It seems most customers were happy to pay this. But one customer queried the Euro price, asking why it was at least €12 above the exchange rate.

"It's a handling charge" she was told blithely. But the jumper was so nice she went ahead and bought it.

A second customer wasn't quite so happy. He checked the exchange rate and established that £49.50 corresponded exactly to €71.50 -- so why were they charging an extra €14.50? "It's a handling charge," he was assured. He declined to buy the jumper.

The National Consumer Agency said there was no point in complaining -- with no price controls people could charge what they liked.

Marks & Spencer's own explanation is long-winded -- but they say that buyers are still getting a good deal.

The sweater in question would normally retail at £69 in the UK and €99 in Ireland. But, according to an M&S spokesman, because the market in the UK is so competitive, the company cut the price to £49.50. But as it is not so competitive in Ireland they left the price at €85.

"Someone should have taken the UK special promotion price off the garment, unfortunately human error," said a spokesman.

And of course additional profit to the very profitable Mary Street store.

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