Swedes sailing the seas for cheaper suds

For ferry operators Scandlines and Stena Line, sales are soaring after the abolition of beer levy

The 15 percent tax cut on beer that went into effect July 1 has led to a minor Swedish invasion. According to the Ritzau news bureau, ferry operators Scandlines and Stena Line have seen an obvious growth in both beer sales and passengers, many of whom embark with the sole intention of shopping in Denmark.

The line manager of Scandlines' Helsingør-Helsingborg route, Henrik Rørbæk, told Ritzau that Scandlines lowered its beer prices onboard already in June, causing a leap of 40 percent in beer sales when compared with the same time last year.

"The growth continues," said Rørbæk. "In July, on average, we sold at least 1,600 cases, or over 38,000 beers, onboard Scandline ferries every day."

In addition, in July the ferry operators saw an increase of 24,000 disembarking passengers over July 2012, which may be a result of more individuals opting to travel over the Øresund when seeking to satisfy their shopping needs. According to Rørbæk, there is a clear trend taking place this year.

"Short-term commuting is on the rise…which we think this is primarily due to a returning interest in shopping for goods in Denmark."

But it isn't just Scandlines that is experiencing a wave of thirstier Swedes. Stena Line is also experiencing a boost in beer sales.

"We have sold a great deal more beer. Considerably more Swedes are taking the ferry to buy beer onboard, but also more individuals are looking to shop in Denmark," Stena Line's Carsten Kruse told Ritzau.

A mere two weeks after the tax reduction went into effect, the ferry operator saw a 17 percent increase in beer sales compared to the same period last year. That is the equivalent to 100,000 litres of beer.

"We pay taxes just like a store on land so it is only natural that when taxes are lowered so too are our prices,” said Kruse. "And we have of course done our share to bring awareness of these new prices to the Swedes." 

While Danish politicians have repeatedly expressed concern about Danish consumers going south of the border to Germany to purchase beer and soft drinks at cheaper prices, none as of yet have expressed a similar sentiment for the Swedish shops that are now losing customers.





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