A shopper from Kaunas said that it was possible to save up to half or even more for the same products. And he does not go to Poland just for holiday shopping: “You spend €100 to buy groceries that last you for one month.”
Lithuanians make the trip to the Polish town some 30 kilometres from the south-western Lithuanian border to shop for food, medicines, household chemicals and clothing. They buy in bulk and are very conscious of special offers, retailers say.
Andrzej, a wholesale meat vendor in Suwalki, said that “around 300-400 buyers from Lithuania visit the meat wholesaler a day. Last Saturday, there were almost 5,500 of them. It is good for us. It is not expensive for the buyers. Food in Lithuania is more expensive, so Lithuanians come and leave their money here.”
Lithuanians are lured not only by Lithuanian-language labels or Lithuanian-speaking vendors, but also by the supermarkets’ websites, which are also available in Lithuanian.
Prices in Poland fell by almost 2% in the first half of 2015, according to the Polish Central Statistics Office. Lithuanian economists said that Poland is still attractive to Lithuanian shoppers due to the depreciation of the zloty and lower value-added tax: 5% on processed meat and books, and 8% on most foodstuffs and services.
Economists have advised the government that the money would remain in Lithuania if the value-added tax, currently at 21% for most goods and services, was reduced.