If you're one of the millions planning a trip to Spain at some point this summer, stop shopping at Zara right now. The giant Spanish fashion brand sells clothes in its native country far cheaper than here, so wait until you get there if you're planning on buying something.
The pound price is often higher than the euro price before you even convert the currency, and now with the pound being at a record seven-year high against
the Euro, currently at 1.38, once you convert it, the difference is usually enormous!
Of course sometimes there are sales on in the UK when they're not on in Spain, which closes the gap. And while you can't get English delivery from its Spanish website, the big boon is it gives you the option to select 'English' as the language so you can browse in advance for pricing research purposes.
And this isn't just about Zara similar pricing structures apply for other members of the same group, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear and Uterqόe.
Using TravelMoneyMax to convert at the top card rate, this shows the pound cost of this jacket is currently £72.46. In other words, it's more than £50 cheaper than the same jacket bought in the UK.
In some cases it's cheaper to fly to Spain and buy there
Doing only a touch of research (see my Cheap Flights guide), I found a Ryanair flight to Santander in Spain (not the bank), for £42 return (hand luggage only). So it would actually be cheaper to jump on a plane to Spain and buy the jacket there.
Of course I'm using some journalistic licence here to prove a point. You'd obviously need to get to and from the airport and may want a hotel. Yet if you're a Zara fetishist and are stocking up for yourself and your family (and perhaps taking orders for friends too), the economics could work (do think about the environment too though).
This is especially powerful as Zara rarely gives out vouchers or discount codes. To get reductions you're reliant on waiting for things to move into the sale so there are only limited opportunities for reductions on full-price goods.
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Don't believe the euro price you see on British labels
Rather interestingly there's no homogenised euro price. On the Zara France site, for example, the same jacket is 129, not that much less than in the UK.
This is a crucial point, as sometimes UK Zara clothes have two price tags, one in pounds, one in euros. Yet I've never seen one of those that is listing the crucial price for Spain or Portugal where it is cheapest normally it's the French price. So if you look at clothes and they've a pound price tag and a euro price tag that's not likely to be the really cheap one.
On average, Zara in Spain is 38% cheaper (at current exchange rates)
I chose four more items at random on Zara, all of them cost less in euros than the pound figure, and I checked the price on both the Spanish and UK sites at the same time.
- (WOMENSWEAR) STUDIO LEATHER DRESS 89.95 (converts to £65.21). Price on UK site £109.99, so 41% cheaper in Spain.
- (WOMENSWEAR) BUCKLED LEATHER MESSENGER BAG 129 (converts to £93.52). Price on UK site £139, so 33% cheaper in Spain.
- (MENSWEAR) GINGHAM CHECKED SHIRT 22.95 (converts to £16.64). Price on UK site £25.99, so 36% cheaper in Spain.
- (GIRLS') PINK FAUX LEATHER JACKET 39.95 (converts to £28.96). Price on UK site £39.99, so 28% cheaper in Spain.
Overall, for the five items on the Spanish site, the price is £276.79; while the same items on the UK site are £443.97 that means on average, it's 38% cheaper in Spain, though of course it's worth noting that not all stores carry all stock. So there is a chance that if you're after something very specific, it won't be in the store there.
I'd love to know which other big store chains are proven to be far cheaper, and are only a relatively short flight away.