03/01/2013 02:21 EST | Updated 05/01/2013 05:12 EDT

U.S. Retailer Brings Parity Pricing To B.C. Stores

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 18: General Atmosphere of Pottery Barn Hosts Nathan Turner Book Launch at Pottery Barn on October 18, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Todd Oren/Getty Images for Pottery Barn)

A major U.S. retailer with stores in British Columbia is re-pricing their products to match the prices found in their American stores.

It’s a welcome change for many local shoppers who have resorted to frequent shopping trips across the border.

Now, prices at the province’s Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn and West Elm — stores operated by the same American consumer retail company — are coming down.

"We heard from our customers in Canada and this is what they want," said Rebecca Weil, spokeswoman for Williams-Sonoma Inc. "All prices will be decreasing with some being on par to the U.S. and some just slightly higher."

But the prices for big-ticket items such as furniture won't change due to high cross-border shipping costs.

Despite a strong dollar, Canadian shoppers have long struggled to understand why identical products in identical stores will often have much higher prices on this side of the border.

Many factors are to blame, including taxes, labour costs, productivity gaps, transportation costs and higher sales and larger markets in the U.S.

Cross-border shopping is extremely popular among shoppers in British Columbia, especially during the holiday season.

According to B.C. Stats, travel from B.C. to the U.S. has steadily increased in recent years.

The number of trips originating in B.C. is now around 12 million per year, which is still well below the 16 to 20 million trips made annually in the early 1990s when the loonie was at 85 cents USD.

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