Exeposé News Issue 622 (18 March 2014) and Exeposé News online (26 March 2014) – Collaboration with News co-editor Emily Leahy
• Oxford most expensive UK city
• Investigation highlights high prices in both University and Guild retail outlets
Exeter was named the ninth most expensive city in the UK in a survey of house prices last week.
The list featured other unaffordable cities including: Bath, Brighton and Truro, while the most expensive location was revealed as Oxford.
Prices in the city reflect a nationwide trend, as the report from Lloyds TSB shows, house prices in urban areas rose by 1.7 per cent last year.
However, the high cost of living in Exeter is not only limited to the prices of housing. Food contributes to a large proportion of student budgets, but with many different retailers on option, it’s difficult to determine where provides the most cost-effective service.
An Exeposé investigation has revealed that in many cases, the Marketplace, the University’s retail outlet in both The Forum and Cornwall House, is more expensive than both the Students’ Guild shop in Devonshire House and local retailers Tesco and Saunders.
Investigating which offered the best deals on a variety of lunchbox essentials, we compared Marketplace prices with the Guild Shop as well as off-campus retailers Tesco and Saunders.
Comparing prices of a 500ml bottle of Coke showed little significant difference; nonetheless, the Guild Shop’s £1.20 represented a 7.7 per cent decrease – the largest difference in comparison to the Marketplace.
The most considerable difference was in the various prices of of a 32.5g bag of Walkers Ready Salted Crisps. The Guild Shop price was 20per cent cheaper; Saunders offered a 21.4per cent decrease, whilst Tesco marked the biggest saving on Marketplace prices at 28.6 per cent.
Tesco also offered the cheapest option when comparing prices for two pints of semi-skimmed milk: at 89p, it represented a 19 per cent saving in the Marketplace.
Prices for a Galaxy Milk 46g bar also showed variation: whilst the Guild Shop and Saunders both represented a saving of 12 per cent on Marketplace prices, Tesco once again proved the most cost-effective, with a 13 per cent saving at 60p.
The Marketplace did however offer cheaper options for sandwiches. In comparing prices of the cheapest cheese and ham sandwich available, the Guild Shop charged 24 per cent more, and Saunders 32 per cent more, in comparison to the Marketplace. Nonetheless, Tesco offered the cheapest product, with £1.90 representing a 9 per cent lower price in comparison with the marketplace.
The comparison between on and off campus retailers proves that, in most cases, Tesco is the most competitive place to buy most lunch items. However, if you choose to stay on campus, the Guild Shop offers cheaper options on most items excluding sandwiches.
A third year student told Exeposé: “The cost of living is an ever increasing problem for students, especially in a city as expensive as Exeter. Talking to friends who study elsewhere, it seems like we often have to pay more for many things, including student staple foodstuffs, drinks in pubs and clubs, and even academic supplies. While these statistics should at least prove that this ever growing expense is at least an important issue, it remains depressing that university retail outlets apparently do not remain competitive in an increasingly retail environment”.