Ikea UK prices compared to Europe - RIP-OFF

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Praise, Vent & Warnings
16 replies 4.3K views
taxiphiltaxiphil Forumite
2K Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Praise, Vent & Warnings
Having just driven back from the World Cup in Germany, we stopped off at a branch of Ikea in Belgium, just near the border with Luxembourg.

Well! We were absolutely blown away by the price differences (I've done a great deal of shopping in Ikea's Warrington store in recent months and I'm very familiar with their prices on many top selling lines).

Basically most items had the same price in Euros as the price in £s in Ikea's UK stores, e.g.:

>>> The range of cheap plates and bowls which are 39p here were 0.39 Euros over there.

>>> A pack of 6 wine glasses that I bought in the UK for £2 were 2 Euros over there.

>>> A bookcase that I bought in the UK for £25 was 25 Euros over there.

>>> A coffee table that I bought in the UK for £15 was 15 Euros over there.

(and the list goes on... I spotted about 5 more items priced in the same manner, and didn't spot anything which appeared more expensive than in the UK)

In other words all these items are 40% dearer in the UK. I was absolutely disgusted to see the extent of how much Ikea is ripping off the Brits on all these items.

The price differences are even more shocking when you consider that Belgium has a higher rate of VAT (21% as opposed to our 17.5%), so their prices are even cheaper still when you deduct the VAT element!

The restaurant was also running a World Cup related promotion ("Football Widows") offering all women any hot or cold meal for only 1 Euro (71p), for the entire duration of the World Cup. My other half had fillet steak which was normally about 8 Euros for only 1 Euro, and you could also have things like poached salmon fillet or roast chicken with chips, vegetables and a bowl of salad from the salad bar for only 1 Euro (but only if you're female!).

A remarkably generous offer when you consider that Belgium aren't even in the World Cup!

As if all that wasn't enough, we were also handed an "Ikea Family Card" as we walked in - totally free - which gave us 10% off everything, AND a free soft drink with every main course bought in the restaurant. Although I'm not sure if this was just an introductory offer as the literature wasn't in English.

Furthermore, they didn't charge the 70p to pay by Credit Card which they do in the UK. (All banks worldwide levy a charge to the retailer for credit card transactions, so why are Ikea only punishing British customers with this 70p fee?).

I'd also like to say that the store was cleaner, more spacious, the restaurant was much more upmarket, and the staff were infinitely happier and friendlier, than the hell hole that is the Warrington store here in the UK.

I'd love to know why the Office of Fair Trading and European Competition Commission are letting Ikea get away with this blatant rip off of British consumers. I know that international companies tailor their prices according to economic conditions in each different country, but you can't exactly say that Belgium is a poorer country than the UK - it's got roughly the same levels of wealth and earnings.
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Replies

  • AstarothAstaroth Forumite
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    The main problem is that you cannot simply compare prices and say one country is cheaper than another. Exchange rates fluctuate over time for one. Secondly cost of living and wages is different in different countries. Where is the furnature made? if it is continental europe then over seas transport is clearly going to be higher.
    All posts made are simply my own opinions and are neither professional advice nor the opinions of my employers
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  • 1 euro for grub, just for the ladies eh ?

    Would they accept a gang of rather tall, broad shouldered, deep voiced 'ladies' with big hands and ill fitting dresses over the top of England T-shirts at the food stand ?
    I wonder why it is, that young men are always cautioned against bad girls. Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against.-David Niven
  • taxiphiltaxiphil Forumite
    2K Posts
    Astaroth wrote:
    The main problem is that you cannot simply compare prices and say one country is cheaper than another. Exchange rates fluctuate over time for one. Secondly cost of living and wages is different in different countries. Where is the furnature made? if it is continental europe then over seas transport is clearly going to be higher.

    The £/Euro exchange rate doesn't fluctuate wildly, it's always hovered around the 70 pence mark, give or take a few pence.

    Most of Ikea's stuff is made in the Far East and Eastern Europe, so yes I suppose in some cases there would be a small premium for extra transportation to the UK, but this would be very minimal indeed because you can fit a massive amount of flatpack furniture into one lorry/container (this is, after all, an integral part of Ikea's business strategy). It does not justify a 40% price difference.

    And like I said, the economic conditions do not differ a great deal between the UK and Belgium. I think the reason is just good old-fashioned Rip-Off Britain rearing its ugly head once again. We're stuck on an island, so we can't easily pop over the border to get things cheaper from a neighbouring country, hence certain retailers whack their prices up. And the fact that we have a different currency gives them an added smokescreen.
  • taxiphiltaxiphil Forumite
    2K Posts
    Saucepot wrote:
    1 euro for grub, just for the ladies eh ?

    Would they accept a gang of rather tall, broad shouldered, deep voiced 'ladies' with big hands and ill fitting dresses over the top of England T-shirts at the food stand ?

    :rotfl: :rotfl:

    If they did that offer at the Warrington store you'd get organised coach trips full of 60-odd silver-haired women from Huyton!
  • alice's_mumalice's_mum Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
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    If they did that offer at the Warrington store you'd get organised coach trips full of 60-odd silver-haired women from Huyton!

    not just Huyton - my mum and her mates would there from West Derby like a flash!!!!!
  • hardpressedhardpressed Forumite
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    Don't they have silver haired old ladies in Belgium then?
  • I really wonder how they get away with a 70p charge to use credit cards. Visa/Mastercard hate this sort or thing, and are prepared to be nasty about it.

    Edit to add - having looked around I see that the regulations that enforced the no-surcharge rule were repealed some time ago, on the basis that banning surcharges worked against the customer(!!)
  • AstarothAstaroth Forumite
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    It works against the customer who doesnt use a credit card as the stores increase all their prices to cover the cost of credit card transactions rather than just charging the individuals who use them
    All posts made are simply my own opinions and are neither professional advice nor the opinions of my employers
    No Advertising or Links in Signatures by Site Rules - MSE Forum Team 2
  • JohalaReewiJohalaReewi Forumite
    2.6K Posts
    I didn't notice the prices going down when Ikea introduced the 70p credit card fee. :(
  • deanosdeanos Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Uniform Washer
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    Just done a snaphot survey on the Belgium and UK site

    Kilby bookcase £19.99 €24.95
    Plastis 99p €1.50
    MOTTO bowl 39p €0.39
    POÄNG chair £69 €89
    KLUBBO table £29 €39
    BASISK light £13.99 €19.99
    ELLY teatowel £1.29 €1.49
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