Bargains galore for transatlantic shoppers

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The Independent US

With the pound all-powerful against the dollar, Britons are combining short breaks to New York with shopping sprees for bargain shoes, clothes and technology.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have reported strong demand for flights from London to New York with both laying on an extra service a day. The pound's 14-year high against the dollar has made goods in New York - which are traditionally less expensive than Britain - cheaper still.

While a Microsoft Xbox 360 costs £274 in Britain, in America it costs £150. Similarly, a pair of Levi's 501 jeans can be bought in New York for less than half the London price. Hotels in the Big Apple are also cheaper than London which, when combined with flights costing as little as £200, has tempted consumers."People are realising when they get to New York there are good savings to be had on jeans and iPods, and shoes are half the price they are in the UK. The hotels are much cheaper too," said Paul Charles, a spokesman for Virgin Atlantic. "Passengers are combining a good break with a good shopping trip. Boston is popular too: it's a substantial shopping destination."

But travellers should be aware of two drawbacks. Under Treasury rules, Britons may only bring back £145 of goods without paying tax. Flying also causes huge damage to the environment. A passenger taking a return trip from Heathrow to JFK in New York generates 1.5 tons of carbon, according to the Climate Care website.

US-UK price comparisons

* XBOX 360
London £274
New York £150 ($299)
45 per cent SAVING

* iPOD NANO REMASTERED (2 Gb 500 songs)
London £99
New York £75 ($149)
24 per cent SAVING

London £120
New York £72 ($144)
40 per cent SAVING

* LEVI'S ORIGINAL 501s (Jeans)
London £50
New York £23 ($46)
54 per cent SAVING

* GUCCI ENVY FOR WOMEN 100ML (perfume)
London £80
New York £40 ($80)
50 per cent SAVING

* MARC JACOBS AVIATOR (women's sunglasses)
London £158
New York £130 ($260)
18 per cent SAVING

London £299
New York £189 ($375)
37 per cent SAVING

London £16.99
New York £6.50 ($12.99)
62 per cent SAVING