This Thursday will see the launch of the 13th annual Collectors’ Fair in Prague’s Letňany, the largest such event in Central and Eastern Europe. Over three days an estimated 12,000 visitors will be able to view exhibits and items from traditional coins and stamps to objects more curious, such as the largest collection of air sickness bags or a new comic book stamp to be issued by Czech Post.
The Czech online auction website Aukro has said it has blocked the account of a seller suspected of having ripped off clients for around half a million crowns (the equivalent of around 26,000 US dollars) by not delivering promised goods. These reportedly included handbags, watches and perfumes. Clients, the auction website says, are compensated for damages of up to 20,000 crowns; in this case the forty people or so who dealt with the questionable seller will be fully refunded; Aukro has not ruled out that additional cases may still emerge. The site, which has 1.8 million registered users in the Czech Republic, is also communicating with the police over the matter.
The volume of foreign investments in the Czech Republic dropped by around one third in the first half of 2010, compared to the same period last year, according to data released by the state CzechInvest agency on Thursday. In the first six months of this year, foreign companies invested around 7 billion crowns, or nearly 360 million US dollars, compared to 10 billion in the same period a year earlier. A CzechInvest spokeswoman said foreign firms are most frequently investing in IT and software development. Some 4,500 jobs are expected to stem from these investments.
Amnesty International has put some of the spotlight on the Czech Republic in a report about the situation in conflict ridden Yemen. The international human rights watchdog organization says that Czech arms are being shipped to a country where opponents of the local government are being tortured or disappear for long periods into detention or are executed.
Czech companies are becoming even worse at paying their bills on time due to the economic crisis, according to a survey of more than 22,000 firms. The survey by the company ČSOB Factoring shows that firms on average pay bills 19 days after the due date. That means that the average time for payment to be made after the bill is sent has risen to 72 days from 59 days in 2008. The economic crisis is put down to the continuing caution caused by the economic crisis. In some sectors, however, the payments record is much better than average. This is for example the case of the auto sector where bills are on average paid within 40 days.
There were 1257 bankruptcy petitions filed in the Czech Republic in July which was 46 percent more than in the same month last year, according to the Czech branch of the firm Creditreform. Compared to the previous month, however, the number of bankruptcy filings dropped by 119. In total, more than 8,600 bankruptcy petitions have been filed by individuals and companies since the beginning of the year, which is 3,900 more than in the same period last year.
Ivo Laurin is the director of Outbreak, the Czech Republic’s only word-of-mouth marketing agency. Instead of what’s called above-the-line or ATL advertising, meaning traditional methods such as billboards and TV commercials, Mr Laurin aims to engage the consumer in conversations about the product that is at the center of his campaign. And with some success. Word-of-mouth is sometimes referred to as WoM, and last year Outbreak received a bronze Wommy, an American award honoring great work in this cutting-edge form of advertising. Ivo Laurin talks
The installation of milk vending machines or “milkomats” across the Czech Republic significantly boosted dairy sales last year, and the trend continues. Due to their massive popularity, farmers are now gearing up to expand the range of produce available through vending machines. Other dairy products are already available at some locations, and even vegetables, meat and honey may soon follow.
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