EU ministers approve Czech deficit reduction plan; Oskar Mobil gets first shot at third UMTS license; Prague bourse accepts Orco Property Group foreign shares listing; Labour Ministry decides on subcontractor provisions; Czech exporters show preference for euros; Czech shoemakers losing out to Chinese imports
Industrial production figures met with disappointment; President Klaus expected to rename Tuma as CNB governor; Securities commission places Sati brokerage under forced administration; Kiekert of Germany to invest $26m in auto plant; Ranks of the unemployed swell, number of entrepreneurs down; Czech Rep shows world's fourth-highest growth in high-speed Internet connections.
The Czech retail watchdog intends to slap the French supermarket giant Carrefour with a heavy fine for misleading shoppers in a major post-Christmas sale campaign. The director of the Czech Trade Inspectorate Jiri Pekny said Carrefour was guilty of breaking the consumers law by announcing price cuts from inflated initial prices and charging customers more than the advertised sale prices at check-outs. Trade inspectors visited the company's ten stores in the Czech Republic after receiving hundreds of complaints from customers in a single day. Carrefour denies the allegations.
For the first time in ten years, the Czech Republic has exported more goods than it imported. Figures released by the Czech Statistics Office show that last November the Czech Republic posted a foreign trade surplus of over 5 billion crowns (218 million dollars) while in the same period of the previous year the country had a foreign trade deficit of 8.4 billion crowns.
Some New Year's Day sales left consumers holding the bag -- an empty bag, that is -- with complaints of "false advertising" by superstores and hypermarkets as precious few of the heavily promoted sales items were actually in stock. The Czech Commercial Inspectorate has launched a natiowide investigation and a move to strengthen the consumer protection law is under consideration.
Nine companies interested in Cesky Telecom; Czech budget deficit sharply lower than expected in 2004; Czech Republic posts first November trade surplus in 10 years; Deadlock in collective bargaining at Ceske Drahy; Scottish IT firm to build repair centre in Prague; One million fewer people work in industry, agriculture than in 1989
As every year after the Christmas and New Year's holidays, this Monday most of the retailers in the Czech Republic opened their stores with huge seasonal sales. But this time the discounts were much higher than in previous years. The general shopping binge was so big that it even caused long queues and traffic jams in several Czech cities.
New Year's sales in stores around the Czech Republic including a major hypermarket and a well-known furniture outlet have reportedly spurred dramatic shopping sprees in Czech and Moravian cities like Usti nad Labem, Pilsen, Ostrava, and Brno. It has been reported that in some areas, as a result of the shopping, traffic even grinded to a halt. The price drops saw Czechs pack stores to buy electronic and photo items, toys, women's and men's wear, and home appliances.
Together with the rise of the economy, Czechs tend to spent more money and buy ever more expensive products, which is particularly visible before the Christmas holidays. Last week it seemed that the shopping spree in Czech cities had reached its peak. But now Christmas is over and retailers are making an effort to get rid off their remaining stock. And this year the sales are starting much earlier than in previous years.
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