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Czech shoppers head across the border to Germany for bargains

DDP/The Local · 14 Dec 2008, 11:36

Published: 14 Dec 2008 11:36 GMT+01:00

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Taking advantage of the strong Czech Krone against the weaker Euro, Czechs are crossing the border to buy up Christmas decorations, food, presents and even Czech beer, all of which are cheaper in Germany than at home.

One internet portal, idnes.cz, compares prices of Christmas shopping in two Czech towns with those in Nuremberg, Zittau in Saxony and even Vienna, Austria.

“If you want to save money on your Christmas tree, shopping in Germany can be worth it,” the site recommends.

The daily newspaper Právo says that Czech beer such as Pilsner Urquell is up to three Krone, or €0.12 cheaper per bottle in Germany than in the Czech Republic, making a trip across the border worth the effort for thirsty Czechs.

Bavarian shopkeepers, who used to worry that low prices in the nearby Czech Republic could ruin them by attracting all their custom, are now welcoming Czech shoppers.

“Times have changed,” said Bernd Ohlmann, manager of the Bavarian State Traders’ Association. “And you can really feel that in the Christmas shopping season.”

Czechs are also buying high-tech items like flat screen televisions and fancy kitchen implements in Germany rather than at home, while even food shops are feeling the warmth of Czech cash.

Some are even driving across the border to get their weekly groceries, favouring the generally higher quality and selection in Germany as well as the lower prices.

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Bavarian shopkeepers are also increasingly happy to accept Czech Krone as payment, saving their customers the hassle of changing money.

Jürgen Kögler, chairman of the local State Trader’s Association in Fürth im Wald, near Nuremberg, said, “Of course it is completely normal for us to accept Czech Krone.”

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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