The argument that the vast amouts of available land in the states helps them keep the price of goods down doesnt really work. The USA is very thinly populated by comparison, and as such any saving made on the cost of buying a retail premesis in the middle of no where is countered by the vastly reduced local customer base / passing trade. Densly populated areas akin to the UK will have Land prices to match.
As for cheaper fuel lowering thier costs, again this is all relative. Any Shipment made to the UK, and then delivered to its four corners, will cost nothing in comparison to transporting goods thousands of miles across the States. Online purchases are of course similarly effected, lower fuel costs are countered by the huge distances involved.
So a shop taking advantage of cheap land in an underpopulated area, therfore requiring it to deal largley online, is simply faced with higher delivery charges which it must swallow in order to remain prices competative, canceling out the saving made on its location.
The buying power of big US companies only applies to thier large "currys/comet" stlye operations and not the small independant Hi-fi outlets such as the one visited by the origional poster. A shop in the centre of new york will not have cheap operating costs and such outlets are in exactly the same boat as any small shop in the uk when it comes to buying in quantity. The larger US companies are often global traders with outlets under one name or another all over the world. The equipment they are buying and the price paid per unit is the same, bought in bulk and distributed accordingly. It should also be remembered that the items in question that these sort of posts/complaints refer to are those that the uk consumer is familiar with. Little is known of many US based AV manufacturers due to thier complete lack of availability across Europe. The products these complaints are directed at are by-englare produced outside the USA, mostly from Japan and the far east. The States would see no benefit from its geographical location when buying products from these areas of the world, let alone products from Europe or the Uk itself.
Since coming to power Labour has swaped us with countless laws, regulations and taxes in all areas of life, and businesses trading within the UK have not escaped. The cost of conforming to all these standards should not be underestimated, nor should the level of tax, of one form or another, that all business now face. We are all aware that many companies had fled these shores for the afore-mentioned reasons, and with the economic downturn more still have gone under. Whilst they in no way account for the sometimes vast discrepancies in price between "here" and "over there", theses rules, regualtions and taxes are one reason we pay more. Whether you think the extra revenue this generates for the government has been wisley spent is a decision for the ballot box.
The one area of regualtion where the consumer may be happy to pay a premium is on customer service, something the US is famous for and the Uk infamous for. Whilst not directed at the Hifi/Hc suppliers in the UK, returning an item here is generally an unpleasant experiance to say the least. We are treated as though we are at fault. Rather than receiving an apology for selling a defective product, an interigation ensuse, requiring names addresses and explanations, often resulting in an argument. Companies continually flout the poorly enforced consumer laws we have, trying at any given oppertunity to wriggle out of giving a refund or replacment, let alone an apology.
In the end we pay more because we are charged more, its self perpetuating and it is unfair.