GLAD TO BE GREY
How to save big bucks on big brand products
When it comes to discount shopping, it pays to go grey.
Bargain- conscious families are saving almost 70 per cent on everyday essentials by buying grey market goods. These big brand products, also known as parallel market, were originally destined for far-f lung places such as Brazil, Uruguay and Morocco. But they are making a U- turn onto our high streets and canny consumers are seeking them out. Sunday Mail researchers found a haul of our most recognisable brands at a fraction of the main store price during a simple trawl of high street discounters. We checked out deals at Poundstretcher, Home Bargains, Poundworld and B& M, selecting eight items.
Weetabix destined for France was 60 per cent cheaper than the UK packaged version.
Nescafe made in Brazi l but imported to Uruguay cost 42 per cent less.
Knorr chicken stock cubes saved us 68 per cent as the pack bound for Casablanca, Morocco, cost 49p instead of the £1.50 price tag at a main store supermarket.
We also found products branded for Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.
Overall, our shopping basket was £10.32 cheaper than in main stores – that’s a 40 per cent saving for cash-strapped families.
Consumer specialist Dr Lindsey Carey, of Glasgow Caledonian University, says there are more grey market goods than ever on our shelves.
She added: “It’s interesting that
the grey market, which has been operating in the luxury markets for a long time, has recently extended with more frequency to the value product and bargain retail markets.
“There are various reasons for the increase, including exchange rate fluctuations, weather disruptions and wholesalers or producers offloading surplus and end-of-line stock.
“This is genuine product offered at discount prices as a result of the size of the original destination market being misjudged – or if sales have not achieved their target for whatever reason.”
Lindsey says shoppers need to have a keen eye for price and packaging for the best deals.
She added: “With luxury goods, the labels can be removed or defaced.
“For groceries, the result is often that the packaging has a different language on it or it is slightly different to the original product destined for the UK market.”
But she hints that the bargains may not be around for long. She said: “The issue with this grey market source is that it cannot be guaranteed as it fluctuates.
“It also usually disrupts the brand revenue streams, which is not desirable from a brand perspective.
“But it’s a case of watch this space. The effect of Brexit may affect this area greatly and it will be interesting to follow what happens as the trade agreements are put in place, or not, in the run up to April 2019.”
Bryan Roberts, of retail analysts TCC Global, said: “The big brands are not overjoyed by this as they need to maintain harmony in terms of their relationships with the supermarkets.
“They would obviously rather have the correct UK product with the right information in UK stores. But as long as the labelling is correctly adapted, then it’s all totally legal.
“If you’re a value- conscious shopper, then seeking out grey market goods is a no-brainer.”
We contacted Home Bargains, B&M and Poundstretcher but they did not comment.
ON THE BASKET CASE Bargain hunters know where to find the best discount deals EXPERT Dr Lindsey Carey