This was a recent change, and it caused quite some rukus. With the Euro falling they decided to charge all VAT-exempt sales in USD, so shoes which were ~130USD before shipping suddenly went to 180 or so overnight. If you look far back enough in the Meermin thread there was a bunch of discussion about it.
RE: Wallets/Leather goods, worth noting the difference between machine stitching and hand, or, 'saddle' stitching. Unlikely to worry you over the expected lifespan of a wallet or something, but with how anal we are with details of most other things, why not be the same for leathergoods :P