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Just another modeller
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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 13 Dec 2007, 08:09) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>It's something I have wondered about too. I also noticed this same phenomenom when looking at the increased costs of Continental outline in the UK. You are only a hundred miles or so from Germany yet paying twice as much. Extra middlemen maybe? In Ozz we have the same problem where anything model rail is twice what you would pay in the USA or Germany. UK outline is a bit better at 50% more. Some shops can do better. Maybe Richard has some information on this as he has a shop and stocks European and US goods.

The postage doesn't seem to bad though. I was recently quoted 81 quid postage for an underground ernie train set from Hattons. I cancelled when I heard that.

*** I don't think you can make a general rule as to cost vs source. For example as a club member we chacked this issue a year ago in regards to Hornby loco's at one shop here in Perth. When we checked out of 20 loco's compared 13 were at or slightly less than Hattons prices while others were up to 50% more. Other shops were all considerably higher with an average of perhaps 25% higher than our benchmark of Hattons, with some as high as 50% more. Wagons and accessory items on the other hand are often much higher. Generally Neil the East coast is charging MUCH more than the West Coast for loco's - I was shocked at Melbourne and Sydney prices for everything model-wise last time I visited!

In my own case I think we are actually as cheap or cheaper then UK in some lines and ditto for EU products - We are rarely significantly dearer, and never dearer than the US recommended retail.

ESU can be a problem as margins are never generous and ex factory costs are too high - but we do try and for example our ESU speakers are equivalent. We export a lot of our own brand products to other resellers and keep a close eye on this, and I don't believe UK retailers are overcharging in the case of our LED's and MASTERswitch products etc...

In accessory areas we can be both better and cheaper than USA, but it is not easy to do that.

My take on this overall:

Price can be held close in some items because of direct distribution ie: maker to retailer. Freight, tax and local costs still have an influence though.

Old style 2 tier distribution: Bachmann and Hornby often use international distributors who will certainly create a hugely inflationary added margin between brand and retailer - this is the biggest problem. I think that this problem also affects EU models distribution significantly.

Cost of doing business: UK and AU costs are higher for premises and overheads than USA, but not higher than the core EU countries.

Tax: Local taxes are higher in AU and UK/EU compared to USA

Cosy arrangements: US distribution mainly uses a series of distributors and retailers, however some distributors also sell direct through an owned retailer. This gives these companies a real price edge that standard retailers cannot begin to compete with. This to me is totally wrong as it is killing off many of the local retail stores completely, and makes a mockery of the price structures set by the manufacturers. I'm all for competitive and "global" pricing but its impossible with these cosy "under the counter" arrangements

Overall though Dougs example is really extreme (Bachmann G scale) and is just wrong - it shouldn't happen! I'm surprised at its huge differences. Bachmann need to look at and globalise this issue much better, such extremes do them real harm as retailers will not show loyalty ever with a disparate arrangement like this!


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