Boston Bargains Beat Big Apple Savings in Post Office Christmas Shopping Guide

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• Shopping Stateside shaves up to 62 per cent off London gift prices • Boston is cheaper than New York in Post Office Christmas Shopping Guide : http://www.postoffice.co.uk/shoppingguide2011 • ‘UK Dream Dozen’ toys surveyed cost at least a third less in the US

Christmas shoppers can again make massive savings on gift items by heading across the Atlantic to buy presents. Even though sterling has slipped 25 per cent in value since 2007 when £1 was worth $2, the annual Christmas Shopping Guide from Post Office Travel Money reveals that prices are up to 62 per cent cheaper Stateside than in London. But while New York remains the UK’s top choice for a city break¹, bargain-hunting shoppers can save even more in Boston.

In its survey of prices for men’s and women’s gifts, toys and electronic gadgets, the Post Office found that 10 ‘must-have’ items would set shoppers back £1,296 in London². The same items cost 45 per cent less in New York (£716) and Las Vegas (£710) but shopaholics could shave even more off their shopping bill in Boston. At £664 for the 10 gifts, Boston prices are 49 per cent cheaper than in London.

Sarah Munro, Post Office Head of Travel Money, said: “When it comes to a battle for the best bargains, Boston wins out because sales tax is lower than in New York and clothing that costs under $175 (£113) is exempt³. What’s more, Boston package prices are cheaper than New York and the city has shops to match the Big Apple4.

“Prices in the USA are so much lower than in London that two people could pool their duty free allowances of £390 and have more than enough to buy all 10 items in Boston, New York or Las Vegas.”        

Despite the credit crunch, Post Office consumer research for the Christmas Shopping
Guide reveals people’s generosity. They spend an average of £276 on gifts for family
and friends5 – with 33 per cent paying more than £300, well within the duty free limit. Toys (57 per cent), perfume (50 per cent), men’s clothing (50 per cent), men’s toiletries (49 per cent), cosmetics (45 per cent), women’s fashions (44 per cent) and jewellery (39 per cent) were among the 10 gifts that people were most likely to buy.

Best Buys in the Christmas Shopping Guide

Toys: With an estimated £268 spent on their children last year, parents can pick up some of the biggest transatlantic bargains on toys6. Post Office Travel Money compared the cost of several of 2011’s ‘UK Dream Dozen’ toys and found the biggest saving on Let’s Rock Elmo - £85 in London but 43 per cent less in New York (£48.78). Elmo was even cheaper in Boston. At £40.13, the Sesame Street favourite cost 53 per cent less than in London and 18 per cent less than New York.

There were similar savings on the Nerf Vortex Nitron Blaster (-40 per cent in New York and -53 per cent in Boston) and Star Wars Ultimate FX Lightsaber Darth Vader (-37 per cent in New York and -53 per cent in Boston).

Jeans: The price of men’s designer denims outstrips most other savings in the guide7. The best deal is on True Religion jeans – £319 in London but £122.67 in New York
(-62 per cent) and £119.71 (-62 per cent) in Boston. Skinny jeans from lifestyle brand Hollister cost 37 per cent less in New York (£31.69) than in London (£50) while the classic brand, Levi 501 Originals, are 45 per cent cheaper.

There are similar savings on women’s jeans8 – 40 per cent on a pair of Citizens of Humanity straight-leg jeans in New York (£138 compared with £230 in London).

Clothes: Some of fashion’s biggest names attract the best savings. A Ralph Lauren men’s jumper is £120 in London but £63.48 in New York (-47 per cent) or £60.82 in Boston (-49 per cent). And a man’s ‘Hunters Pass’ shirt from youth favourite Abercrombie & Fitch costs 45 per cent less in New York than in London (£52.12 compared with £94). UGG boots for women, always expensive in London (£175) cost 40 per cent less in New York (£104.55) and 45 per cent less in Boston (£96.02).

Electronics: Savings are lower but several ‘must-have’ gadgets like the Nintendo 3DS console, Apple iPod Nano (8GB) and Bose SoundDock Portable Digital Music System cost over 20 per cent less in the States. 2011’s ‘Best Buy’ is a 25 per cent saving on a Sony Digital Photo Frame. However, growing competition in the UK means tablets like the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy are only 13 per cent cheaper Stateside.

Note of caution: Most items researched by the Post Office were cheaper in the USA but the guide found some unexpected bad buys. Men’s jeans from designer label Nudie cost 54 per cent more in New York while Jennifer Aniston eau de parfum was one of several fragrances costing more in the Big Apple (32 per cent) than in London.

Sarah Munro said: “There are great bargains to be had in New York and Boston but don’t assume that everything is cheaper. Find out what items cost in the UK before leaving and compare these with the US price tag before splashing the cash. Toys are almost always cheaper but we still found bad buys like the Lego ‘Harry Potter’ Playstation3 game, which costs 39 per cent more in New York.”

UK holidaymakers planning pre-Christmas trips to the USA can purchase US dollars on demand at over 4,000 Post Office bureaux, pre-order for next-day collection at all 11,800 branches or order online for branch or home delivery at postoffice.co.uk. The Post Office has just been named by the UK public as the ‘Best Foreign Exchange Provider’ for the fifth year running at the prestigious British Travel Awards.

For more information, please contact:

Stuart Taylor        
Post Office Press Office        
02920392572/ 07715 480146
stuart.taylor(at)royalmail(dot)com

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Stuart Taylor