SLOVAKIA should prepare for an invasion of Czech shoppers in the run up to Christmas, after Czech daily Právo reported that shopping in Slovakia for nearly all types of goods is one third cheaper than in the Czech Republic.
The advantage for Czech shoppers lies in their stronger currency as well as in a customs rule that allows the return of VAT for the majority of goods purchased in Slovakia that have a value of up to Sk6,000 ($142). The current exchange rate is 1 to 1.36 in favour of the Czech crown.
"Because of the exchange rate it is advantageous for [Czech] people to buy almost any goods [in Slovakia], from cement to cardboard," Karel Mockor, spokesman with the Czech Customs Office, told Právo.
"They also buy sports clothes and sports equipment such as skis. But probably the biggest interest is in [buying] petrol," he said.
Czechs also buy cosmetics products, washing powder and electronic appliances such as radios and other industrial goods.
A teacher from the eastern Czech city of Brno who spoke to Právo at a customs post in Lanzhot said: "I went to Bratislava with my husband and bought clothes for the whole family. When I added everything up I found out that I saved one third [of what I would have paid in the Czech Republic], and that was including the petrol I used driving there."
9. Dec 2002 at 0:00 | From press reports of TASR and SITA