I had the dreaded pleasure of finishing my Christmas shopping in London this year. Recently, with the pound sterling so strong against the dollar, I’ve abhorred the thought of spending money in the United Kingdom, but with work in the city and little time to spare, this year I had little choice.
To my surprise, however, the experience was invigorating. With the global financial crisis in full swing, the past few months have seen significant gain in the dollar against the pound. At departure from the states, each British pound cost 1.56 American dollars, and while that’s still a hefty exchange, it’s a relief from the nearly 2x exchange rate earlier this year.
On top of the exchange, retailers are squabbling for the few pence that people are willing to spend on this year’s holiday, so are hosting a wide range of sales. In boutiques like Ben Sherman, where I never thought I would find a reasonably priced article of clothing, I was able to purchase several holiday gifts for damn near bargains. Other stores, like Puma, had almost the entire store marked down.
So if you’ve been holding back on heading down to 5th or Michigan Avenue because you’re cutting corners this holiday season, it may be time to take a second look. The money that you were planning to save may have already been saved for you.