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Strength of Euro Triggers Boom in Expat Shopping Online

11 June 2010 - 10:54 by Graham Miller

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Carrying coals to Newcastle has never been easier now that safe shopping online is so readily available. And this has been well and truly proven this week. An article in this week's Guardian newspaper suggests that as a result of the strength of the Euro against the pound, hundreds of British Ex-pats living in France are now using the internet to order food from well-known UK supermarkets.

The director of Sterling Shopping, Simon Goodenough, reports that his delivery firm is sending five delivery vans packed with food from British supermarkets such as Marks and Spencer, Sainsburys and Asda to France every week. He reports that staff at the Northamptonshire based depot have been left aghast having seen items such as baguettes, croissants and French wines in customers' shopping bags.

One of four delivery companies in the UK, Sterling Shopping delivers food bought online from supermarkets in the UK to ex-pat customers who live in France. Depending upon the consumer's location in France, the delivery firm charges a fee equal to a percentage of the food's value.

And it's not just the Brits getting in on the act; French customers are enjoying the convenience of safe shopping online from the UK supermarkets, with the emphasis here on items such as curry and tacos that are not readily available in France.

The strength of the Euro against the pound is almost certainly the root cause of this boom in online shopping for food, especially as many Brits abroad have pensions and savings held in Sterling. It makes financial sense for expats to buy groceries from the UK at the moment as considerable savings can be made. Naturally, some buyers simply use the service to pick up much loved products that can't be sourced in France. What the French retailers think about this practice is yet to be documented.