Norwegian price hunters swarm to Sweden

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Norwegian shopper Roger Knapper fills his trolley at the Nordby supermarket (File photo: Thomas Winje Øijord/Scanpix).
16:46 CEST+02:00
Eager to save money, Norwegian shoppers are streaming over the border in record numbers to avoid hefty domestic prices by instead stocking up on groceries in Sweden, new figures show.

Over the last four quarters, Norwegians spent a total of 11.7 billion kroner ($2 billion) in Swedish stores, according to Statistics Norway.

While their till-filling neighbours gave Swedish retailers a welcome boost – figures were up nine percent on the previous 12-month period – Thomas Angell, trade director at Norway’s Enterprise Federation (Virke), expressed concern.

”Cross-border trade eats into turnover for Norwegian stores, leading to job losses in the grocery and trade sectors,” he said in a statement.

”Unfortunately, all the indications are that the cross-border trade will continue to grow as long as there’s a lot of money to be saved by shopping in Sweden.”

In the last year, the number of day trips from Norway to Sweden rose by four percent to a total of 6.7 million.

According to the Statistics Norway figures, five percent of Norwegians’ total grocery spend now goes to Sweden.

Reaping the benefits, the Nordby Centre on the Swedish side of the border posted record sales results this summer. Located just off the motorway from Oslo, Nordby is always thronged with Norwegians and is much bigger than any shopping centre in Norway, newspaper Aftenposten reports.

Concerned by a development that has gathered pace in recent years, Thomas Angell urged the government not to raise taxes on popular products in the October budget.

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”The price differences between Norway and Sweden on popular goods like alcohol, tobacco products, chocolate, and sweets are at a critically high level,” he said.

”Norwegian politicians must now take cross-border trade seriously.”

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