Residents of German-speaking Switzerland appear to doing less shopping across the border, something that has also been observed in Geneva.
According to the newspaper the Handelszeitung, Swiss cross-border shopping peaked in 2015 and local customs posts have seen a decline in VAT and duty collected since March. At the border in Kreuzlingen, near Lake Constance, VAT and import duty collected was down 10%. At the Lörrach bei Riehen crossing near Basel, receipts were down by 31%.
The situation in Geneva is similar. SIX, the company that manages Maestro card payments, has noticed a similar decline in Swiss card payments across the border from Geneva, Ticino and the German town of Constance, across the border from Kreuzlingen. It is the first decline they have seen since 2012.
So why is this happening? Bertram Paganini, from the chamber of commerce Hochrhein-Bodensee in Constance thinks the trend has run out of steam, and German discounters, like Aldi and Lidl, operating in Switzerland, have helped to push down prices at Migros and Coop.
Judging by the comments on 20 Minutes, many readers are not convinced. One pointed out the huge price difference between French and Swiss beef, and another complained that Swiss chocolate is cheaper in France than in Switzerland.