M&S charges Irish shoppers up to 39% more than UK counterparts for Christmas products

Retailer’s customers in Republic will pay more on Christmas turkeys, mince pies and trifles

Irish customers of Marks & Spencer are set to pay up to 39 per cent more than their UK counterparts for their turkeys, mince pies and trifles this Christmas, as the British retailer is applying a hefty premium on the prices of its festive food range in Ireland.

The company’s 75-page Christmas food catalogue shows that customers of its 17 outlets in the Republic are being charged higher prices across the majority of the main categories.

A Pembrokeshire bronze turkey for 8-10 people costs between €65.25-€79.75 for Irish customers. However, based on an exchange rate of £1:€1.11842, the equivalent cost for UK customers is just €50.32-€61.51. This suggests a mark-up of about 30 per cent.

A dry-aged sirloin of beef to serve 6-8 costs from €60.20-€73.20 in the Republic, or about 28 per cent more than in the UK, while a Devonshire Bronze turkey retails at between €60-€82.50 in Ireland, which is 36 per cent more than in the UK.


More expensive

Potato dauphinoise costs the sterling equivalent of €8.94 in the UK, but €12.50 in the Republic – a difference of some 39 per cent – while an Italian meats and parmesan platter is €35 here or 25 per cent more expensive than the £25 (€28) charged in the UK.

Irish shoppers will pay more for cheaper items too. Pork and chestnut stuffing bacon cups are on sale for €9 here, or some 34 per cent more than in the UK, while a selection of 36 mini mince pies is priced at €24 in the Republic, which is also some 34 per cent more than the UK price of £16 (€17.89).

A spokeswoman for Marks and Spencer suggested that the higher cost of doing business in Ireland is behind the differential.

“We work hard to ensure we offer our customers in Ireland great quality products that are competitively priced,” she said.


“Like any business, we have to take into consideration a number of factors specific to the Irish market when setting our prices, such as higher employment, rental and operational costs.”

However, the scale of the difference may surprise – and annoy – customers. Although sterling has been substantially weaker against the euro since the Brexit referendum in June 2016, UK retailers have been slow to cut prices to reflect this. A survey conducted earlier this year by The Irish Times of 12 UK retailers operating in the Republic found that currency mark-ups applied by these retailers varied significantly.

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan is a writer specialising in personal finance and is the Home & Design Editor of The Irish Times