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Ikea rejects calls to slash prices by 8pc to match the North

Furnitire superstore Ikea is refusing to change its prices in the Republic to match those in the North, branding the 8pc price difference between the regions as "not significant".

In response to the suggestion that Ikea may alter their prices to offer Irish shoppers better value, a spokesperson said: "There is a difference of about 8pc, which is not very significant. And if you take out the VAT, the difference is only approximately 6pc.

"There will be no decrease or increase in pricing until there is a new catalogue launch, which is in August and it is the same in all Ikea stores."

But consumer bosses have slammed Ikea's refusal to change their prices to offer Irish consumers better value.

Michael Kilcoyne, vice chairman of the Consumer Association of Ireland, said that the difference in price between the furniture store's Ballymun and Belfast branches is another rip off that customers in the South are forced to deal with.

Disposable

"Well it's very significant in an economy that's in recession. It's very significant in a society where disposable income is falling all the time," he told the Herald.

"I think it really makes the point that Ikea is no different than other businesses and they will just try to fleece us all.

"The reason they came to the South with so much anticipation was that they told us we would be given the same value as customers in the North.

"Maybe it's wrong to have thought that they would have upheld that promise.

"My advice to consumers would be to shop around and see that they could better value elsewhere, even somewhere in Dublin," he said.

A study carried out by Professor Barry Smyth from UCD showed that Irish Ikea customers are paying an average of 8pc more than in Belfast.

Hype

Prof Smyth noted that the 8pc price difference could largely be explained by the difference between our 21.5pc VAT rate and the 15pc rate in the North, although the recent Budget did reduced VAT here by 0.5pc.

The Swedish superstore opened its doors to Irish customers for the first time in July amid massive hype.

However, despite opening a Dublin branch of the retail store, many shoppers said that they would still be travelling to Belfast in search of a better bargain.

Karla Brennan, a devout Ikea customer, said: "It's still worthwhile going North if you're from Dublin or above.

"If you're from Kerry or Limerick, then Dublin is probably your best bet.

"Once the novelty wears off, people will go back North again. Smaller things are convenient, but new homeowners, who will be buying a substantial amount, will be heading up there."

Despite the trek to the North, sales in the Ballymun branch have grown steadily, and attracts an average of 10,000 to 15,000 customers every day.

hnews@herald.ie


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