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(Bloomberg) -- Swiss shoppers flocked to German border-town Constance today as a more valuable franc turned everything from shoes to iPads into an instant bargain.
One of the biggest shopping centers on the Swiss-German border Lago Konstanz will see about 5,000 more shoppers today, an increase of about 13 percent, said Peter Herrmann, manager of the center. Swiss rail company SBB AG added extra wagons on the line from Zurich to Constance, spokesman Christian Ginsig said.
“It’s big bags that are being filled with groceries, toiletries, pharmaceuticals, clothes,” said Herrmann, who’s managed Lago Konstanz since it’s opening in 2004. “It was noticeable yesterday too. Fridays, which are usually rather quiet for retail, was significantly busier.”
The franc gained against every currency on earth after the Swiss National Bank’s unexpected decision two days ago to abandon the currency’s cap verses the euro. The euro dropped the most against the franc since the common currency’s 1999 inception, roiling markets.
The Lago shopping center, which is less than 100 meters away from the Swiss border, has 70 stores and sells brands such as Apple, Tommy Hilfiger and Massimo Dutti. With the current exchange rate and a return of your value-added-tax, the Swiss are paying almost half of what they would pay on their own side of the border, Herrmann said.
The shopping-center manager is expecting the visitors to keep coming, especially with winter vacations soon. He estimates that the extra shoppers will boost sales in the one-digit percentage range.
“In some cantons the ski holidays are coming up and I can imagine that some of them will want to buy skiing equipment,” Herrmann said. “Often holidays mean more shopping anyway. But people are really aware that they pay almost half the price in here.”
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