Christmas toy rip off revealed

Rip off Britain: Christmas toys cost more in the UK

Updated: 
Top Christmas Toys 2014

A study has revealed that British parents are forced to pay far more for the most popular Christmas toys than their American counterparts.

The difference in prices is alarming. The Sunday Mirror looked at the top toys for Christmas, as revealed by the Toy Retailers' Association, and compared the prices in US and UK branches of Toys R Us and the Lego store.

The findings

The Lego Movie Benny's Spaceship costs £79.99 in the UK and £69.20 in the US
Minecraft action figures cost £9.99 in the UK and £7.98 in the US
Disney's Frozen Snow Glow Elsa doll costs £34.99 in the UK and £24.41 in the US
The Stomp and Chomp Grimlock dinosaur costs £66.99 here and £48.14 in the US
The Bop It! Beats is £14.99 here and £12.02 in the US
Little Live Pets Bird Cafe is £19.99 here and £13.90 in the US

This is not a new situation. For years studies have shown that prices across the pond for everything from clothes to toys and gadgets are strikingly cheaper. This is partly the result of import taxes that are paid when goods come into the UK, and partly because of the fact that VAT is charged on toys here - which is higher than the sales taxes in America.

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Better deals

The good news is that you don't have to go all the way to the US to get these toys cheaper, because a bit of shopping around will help reduce the price of most of them - and in some cases make the UK cheaper than the US.

The Tesco Clubcard Boost is available on toys, which means that if you have enough vouchers you can halve the price of many toys in this list. So, for example, the Bop It! Beats game is available from Tesco, for £16.50, which means you can get the toy for £8.25 in vouchers - undercutting the price in the US.
Meanwhile, the Lego spaceship is actually cheaper in Tesco than in the US even without the discount - at £59.99. If you use Clubcard vouchers, you can bring the cost down to £30.

Some toys are in massive demand, so your chances of shopping around are diminished by the fact you are likely to be chasing around trying to find something in stock. The Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa seems to be this year's hard-to-find gift.

It was available with the deal in Tesco but has sold out. At £34.99 it is currently sold out at Argos, Toys R Us and Smyths Toys too. In some instances you can reserve them for when they are next in store, and they all expect deliveries before Christmas, but you can be fairly certain that you're unlikely to get a discount on the price when they are in such demand.

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