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New York triumphs in Christmas shopping guide

22nd November 2010 Print

Sterling may not have quite the buying power it enjoyed in the heady days of two dollars to a pound, but the new Christmas Shopping Guide from Post Office Travel Money reveals there are still significant savings available on a long list of Christmas presents purchased in New York. With prices up to 53 per cent lower than in London, fashion victims can bag some of the biggest bargains, while parents can slash over 40 per cent off the cost of top toys.

With the imminent release of Toy Story 3 on DVD, this year’s ‘best buy’ toy in the fourth annual Post Office survey is a Jet Pack Buzz Lightyear - £50 in London but only £25.57 - 49 per cent less - in New York. Lasting favourite Barbie, this year in the new guise of Barbie Video Girl, is also a bargain - costing 44 per cent less in New York (£42.38) than in London (£76).

Jeans are another great buy - with the price of men’s designer denims outstripping most other savings in the Post Office Travel Money guide. Skinny jeans from top lifestyle brand Hollister cost 53 per cent less in New York (£23.49) than in London (£50) while the classic brand, Levi’s 501s, are 49 per cent cheaper.

Fashionista-favourites, Diane von Furstenberg and Tiffany & Co. are among many women’s designer brands offering savings for UK shoppers - although Abercrombie & Fitch provides the biggest incentive for dedicated followers of fashion. A lady’s hoodie is 33 per cent cheaper, while a man’s shirt costs 42 per cent less than in London.

With the duty free allowance now increased to £390, Apple enthusiasts can bring back this year’s ‘must have’ gadget, the iPad, from New York - saving 15 per cent into the bargain (New York price: £364.62, London price: £429). They can save even more on the newest iPod nano 8GB, priced at 16 per cent less in New York (£108.88) than in London (£129).

Sarah Munro, Post Office Head of Travel Money, said: "After last year’s doubling of the duty free allowance, the ceiling has been raised again to £390 so holidaymakers can bring back higher-priced gifts like the Apple iPad. Remember too that additional savings can be made by shopping in stores like Bloomingdales and Macys, which offer a 10 per cent discount to UK visitors to offset the 8.875 per cent New York sales tax."

However, the Post Office guide also sounds a word of caution. Gaming enthusiasts can pick up kit like the Nintendo DSi XL for 22 per cent less in New York but prices for games to play on them can be a minefield. Although the survey established a 16 per cent saving for the latest Sims 3 PC game, some of the season’s top new releases like Halo Reach (Xbox360) are more expensive in New York (+10 per cent).

Sarah Munro advised: "There are great savings to be made in New York provided that shoppers have done their homework in advance and don’t assume that everything will be cheaper. Although most items are cheaper, the savings vary and we did find examples of popular Christmas gifts that were more expensive in New York - so it will pay to check carefully before splashing the cash."

For example, while fashion items are invariably cheaper in New York, prices for perfumes and beauty products are often higher. Most of the fragrances checked were cheaper in London, although John Galliano’s new recreation of the classic Miss Dior Cherie perfume cost 16 per cent less in the Big Apple. Marc Jacobs Daisy and Dior J’Adore were among the other fragrances found to be cheaper (-7 per cent).

Most alarmingly, the Post Office research revealed that a set of GHD IV Styler hair straighteners, a top Christmas list item for women, cost 46 per cent more in the Big Apple - £179.02 compared with £123 in London.

UK holidaymakers planning pre-Christmas trips to the USA can purchase US dollars on demand at 2,600 Post Office bureaux, pre-order for next-day collection at all 12,000 branches or order online for branch or home delivery at