After Croatia adopted the euro on 1 January, Croatians are increasingly flocking to Slovenia to do their shopping, finding deals to be cheaper across the border. The eastern town of Brežice is one especially popular destination.
Croatian customers have been keeping Brežice store owners busy in the first month of the new year as their numbers increased significantly.
Most come to do their shopping on Saturdays, said Brežice Mayor Ivan Molan, adding that the shoppers were mostly from the Zagreb area. One of the busiest Brežice stores has estimated that their sales over the weekend increased by some 50%.
Store owners have welcomed the new customers with open arms. Even the locals do not mind the crowded shopping malls, but they do frown at how busy the parking lots have become.
People from Zagreb come to Brežice to buy cheaper groceries and other products that are not available in Croatia or are significantly pricier there.
According to a family from Zagreb, they have saved over €100 per one full shopping cart by buying in Slovenia. Most shoppers go for staple foods, such as flour, pasta, coffee, dairy products and other types of groceries.
To make the most of their visit, they often go for an afternoon coffee or a quick dip at the local spa, thus boosting tourism in the area.
The Zagreb-based newspaper Jutranji List recently published comparative charts of grocery items, concluding that some are at least one to two euros cheaper in Slovenia than in Croatia.