GLAD TO BE GREY

How to save big bucks on big brand prod­ucts

Sunday Mail (UK) - - Lesley Roberts -

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

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