A battle over opening hours at Czech stores during the holidays has continued for several years and once again the question of whether stores should close or remain open at Yuletide is being hotly debated. Some Czech union representatives want to see hours curbed so that cashiers or shop assistants can spend more time with their loved ones; critics say the matter should be left up to employers.
Last week saw the 5th inception of Sexistické prasátečko (Sexist Little Pig), a competition run by the NGO Nesehnutí critical of sexism in advertising. The anti-award is voted on by members of the public and by a jury annually; some of the entries this year featured wanna-be porn starlets licking a strip of aluminium (We love aluminium!) and a naked man hiding his private parts under a drape.
In Business News this week: household energy prices to fall markedly in New Year; poll find most firms have experience of dodgy tenders; percentage of part-time job rises – but still lags EU; Czech e-tailers mark Black Friday; more shops selling fake goods, say inspectors; and 4 percent of Czechs don’t possess mobile.
The central bank’s recent intervention against the crown has triggered a shopping fever, the internet news site novinky.cz reports. Retailers and e-shops report a steep increase in sales particularly electronics where the predicted price hike is expected to be significant. Alza.cz says its sales have doubled since the announcement and internet stores selling electronics and household appliances report a 200 percent increase in sales. The National Bank is intervening on forex markets to weaken the crown which is expected to increase the price of imported goods, products made from imported materials and petrol.
In Business News: the Czech National Bank has moved to weaken the crown, interest rates have been left unchanged at an all-time low, the PPF investment group has signed a deal to buy a majority stake in Telefonica Czech Republic and the clothing retail chain C&A is curbing its expansion plans after seeing a drop in profits.
The Czech Republic has dropped by seven places to rank 75th out of 189 countries on the World Bank’s index on the ease of doing business, released on Monday. The report ranks countries according to 10 areas including business regulation, tax collection and obstacles for start-up firms. The report says that over the past year, the Czech Republic has progressed in two of the areas – trading across borders and resolving insolvency. However, its ranking dropped for seven areas including starting a business and property registration.
In Business News this week: Confidence in the economy is up, not least in manufacturing and the automotive industry; the online giant Amazon will open two major warehouses in the Czech Republic, bringing up to 10,000 new jobs; controls reveal problems with imported poultry; Czech engineers will build a new brewery in Ethiopia; internet sales up by 15 percent year-on-year.
The American internet shopping giant Amazon will set up its Central European distribution center in the small town of Dobrovíz near Prague’s Václav Havel airport, according to the E15 daily. Most likely, Amazon will build a new 1,000-square meter space with the help of the developer company Panattoni, which already has a large storage complex in Dobrovíz. Although neither Panattoni nor Amazon have confirmed the deal, the only other company competing for this contract told E15 that they are out of the running. Amazon is planning to employ around 1,000 people in its new distribution center, which it plans to open in a year’s time.
The person most likely to become the Czech Republic’s next finance minister has set off a debate about the country’s foreign policy priorities. Speaking at an economic forum, Jan Mládek of the Social Democrats said criticism of Russia and China could cost thousands of Czech jobs. Critics say human rights have to come before exports.
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