“Max 2 package per person.” The handmade sign at the REMA 1000 shop indicates the challenge for the booming cross-border trade where crowds of Russians come to Kirkenes for shopping. Pampers costs one third of the price in Norway compared with the shopping malls in Murmansk.
The quota restriction is so far introduced at one shop in Kirkenes. Others still have no regulations in how many packages of napkins a customer can buy.
Why so? Baby napkins are allurement products in Norwegian food-stores. Cheap napkins call on families with young children to do their shopping in specific stores. And when most stores use napkins as “a carrot” to attract shoppers, then price-cutting war starts.
In Murmansk, Pampers costs nearly 15 rubles (€0,45) apiece, while in Norway the price is around one krone (five rubles, €0,18), depending on size. The price difference across the border is so considerable that it is good business for Russians to fill their cars and re-sale the Pampers home in Murmansk.
Pampers in Murmansk cost nearly three times the prize in Norway. Photo: Trude Pettersen