Cross-border trade rises again

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A weaker currency means Norwegians aren’t saving quite as much money as they did a year ago by driving over the border to shop in Sweden, but the cross-border trade continues to rise. Merchants in Sweden hope it will this year, too.

The Nordby Shopping Center south of Svinesund reported another 3 percent increase in sales for 2013, even though the value of the Norwegian krone fell against the Swedish krone during the yearNewspaper Dagsavisen noted that while it only took NOK 85.60 to buy SEK 100 a year ago, the exchange advantage ebbed out last fall and it now costs NOK 95.40 to buy SEK 100.

That still yields a slight advantage at the cash register for Norwegians, and it comes in addition to the advantages of Sweden’s lower taxes on alcoholic beverages and on food and many other products in general. Many Norwegians continue to drive over the border to shop, and that continues to plague Norwegian retailers, not least the state liquor and wine monopoly Vinmonopolet.

Some, including food and beverage importers, say the cross-border trade will only taper off if Norway harmonizes its tax levels with those of Sweden, and reduces the country’s punitive alcohol taxes. Others claim the larger selection of goods in Swedish stores remains another major draw.

newsinenglish.no staff