Lidl blames price gap with Germany on our higher taxes
SUPERMARKET giant Lidl last night defended huge price variations between its Irish and German stores, blaming higher government taxes here for the difference.
An independent survey showed Irish customers paid up to €11 more for 700ml bottles of gin and whiskey, and a basket of 18 assorted items cost €37.51 more in an Irish store than in its German equivalent.
In Ireland, the 18 products -- including toilet paper, bread, pasta, juice, chocolate, fish cheese and spices -- came to €73.19, but in Germany they came to only €35.68.
The most marked difference was in the price of alcohol.
A 750ml Margot whiskey, a 750ml dry gin and three different bottles of wine came to €19.35 in Germany, but in Ireland they cost 250pc more, at €47.71.
A spokesperson for the German supermarket giant said: "There is nothing we can do, it is the excise duty." He said 40pc tax was paid on every 700ml bottle of gin or whisky, before VAT was added. While on a 750ml bottle of wine, tax was paid at 12pc volume.
"If you take these costs away you would see there is not that much difference between them," he added.
The spokesman claimed other factors also came into the equation such as insurance, property and land costs, wages and transport.
"When specific products are compared on a country-to-country basis, certain parameters have to be taken into consideration," he said.
"As Ireland has a relatively low level of direct taxation through income tax, indirect taxes like VAT and excise duty are very high. This affects retail prices directly and hampers, for instance, price comparisons on alcoholic products between different countries," he added.
VAT in Ireland is set at 21pc, while in Germany it is 19pc, but there is a special, reduced, VAT rate of 7pc on all food and agriculture produce.