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HomeNEWSYou Brexit, you buy it: Kiwi consumers shop as the pound drops

You Brexit, you buy it: Kiwi consumers shop as the pound drops

Kiwi shoppers seem to be taking advantage of the plummeting pound to shop online at their favourite UK stores. Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has pushed down the pound against the New Zealand dollar by more than 8 percent or 4 pence, and has left UK retailers in an increasingly uncertain position.

Marketview managing director Stephen Bridle says he expects that people will do more online spending as the currency depreciates, but it will take about six weeks to know if this is the case.
Kiwis have been increasingly shopping overseas and about 40 per cent of them have been on British websites, according to Marketview’s analysis of BNZ cardholders.
 
They spent over half a billion dollars on British-based websites in the year to June last year. That’s partly because small purchases can come into the country free of charge if the duty and GST they would incur is less than $60. If only GST applies, that means no charges for goods worth up to $400.
 
First Retail managing director Chris Wilkinson says fashion retail has had a strong month in New Zealand, but in the later part of the month, following Brexit, growth has potentially slowed down a bit. 
There hasn’t been a lot of media about the impact of Brexit on online shopping, so New Zealand retailers probably don’t feel vulnerable, he says.
 
“There is a growing awareness amongst consumers about the duty thresholds, and when consumers stop and look at the differences (in price) – it is incrediby marginal – which is working in the favour of New Zealand retailers,” he says.
 
On the question of consumers going for top brands that aren’t available in New Zealand, such as British online retailers ASOS and Next, Wilkinson says many of the brands sold under ASOS are geo-excluded.
 
Havelock North based resident Ruth Zapasnik, who used to live in Scotland, says the falling pound prompted her to order $40 of books from the UK-based Book Depository. 
 
“I’m about to start ordering upwards of $100 of some more jewellery supplies from the shops I used to order from when I lived in the UK – suddenly I can get a lot for my New Zealand money,” she says.
 
Meanwhile, the  ASOS website went down on Friday – as news of Brexit spread – prompting speculation that the plummeting pound following the decision had caused it. 
 
 
However, ASOS denied this was the case, instead citing an electrical outage.
 
Brexit could not have come at a worse time for the UK high street. The Telegraph reports that many retailers are already surviving on wafer-thin profits in the face of slumping sales and dwindling footfall as they grapple with a new breed of consumer.
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