You make some good points but:
1) Leffot's prices do not include city or state tax. That will be extra. Shipping from the UK is not really that much. I am not sure what customs duty would be.
2) Unless you buy from the shop, you will pay shipping. Leffot is an e-commerce business as well.
3) AFPoS has played an equally large role in elevating the AS Exclusive brand - more than Leffot from what I can see. Leffot hosted AS Handgrade MTO, but they only just started stocking the Exclusive line. AFPoS has been marketing it for a year at least.
As I have repeatedly said, the price is not so much the issue for me as the lack of buying options. Perhaps Leffot should work with AS to develop unique styles or make-ups. That is what they did when they worked with EG to design and offer the navy shell Westminster. That is why I think EG was right to deny selling that shoe separately from Leffot. The screw up in that story was at EG when they originally told the customer who was trying to get a deal and undercut Leffot that they would make the shoe as a private MTO.
If Leffot offered styles and make-ups unique to their shop, they would increase the product options and not be closing the market elsewhere. For example, they could do the Hunt, wingtip brogue as a suede/calf spectator, or as a pin grain/calf combo. Interesting and unique.
Instead they offer a limited selection of what, for the most part, AFPoS is already carrying and then sees AS deny customers access to other offerings in the AS line one might want.
Did Leffot request or demand this as a part of their decision to carry AS? I have no idea. I would think AS might have inquired with AFPoS as to what percentage of its AS sales are shipped abroad before making this decision. I would not be surprised to find that AFPoS sells more abroad than Leffot will sell to the domestic US market. The end result might be AFPoS cutting back and AS will lose orders.
And, finally, to Fiddler.....see? I am not having breakfast with Steven.