Data published by the Czech Statistics Office indicate that the choice of food imports to the Czech Republic is still directed mainly by price, with retail chains favouring competitive German, Polish and Slovak producers. Higher quality but less affordable Czech products are often left lying on the shelves.
The results of a study released by Nielsen this week suggest the last 15 years have been less than kind to small grocery and variety stores in the Czech Republic. While in 2000 there were more than 10,600, the number has since dropped by roughly a third. The reason? Hyper- and supermarket chains which have largely changed how Czechs do their shopping.
Squandering of public funds in ill-conceived investment projects has always been a big problem for Czech state administrations. Now the centre-left government is setting up a watchdog body which should assess the necessity for major investments and make sure that the money is spent according to plan.
Councillors in Brno have voted to sell land to a company that was to have developed it as a site for an Amazon distribution centre. The move comes despite a recent announcement by Amazon’s head of European operations that the internet retail giant had given up on building in Brno and was looking at alternative locations in the region. However, the developer, CTP Invest, said on Tuesday that there was a chance Amazon could in the end go ahead with the distribution centre in the Moravian capital. As well as a change of mind on Amazon’s part, that would also require councillors voting to change Brno’s territorial plan. The centre would create around 1,500 jobs.
CzechInvest has mediated investments of CZK 415 billion in the Czech Republic since the country joined the European Union in May 2004, according to figures released by the state agency quoted by the Czech News Agency. The investments have resulted in the creation of 145,000 new jobs. 2006, the year when Hyundai decided to build a plant in north Moravia, saw the biggest investments of CZK 94 billion.
The Czech Republic has benefitted in the recent years from being the biggest “pull” for foreign investors in Central Europe. But the city of Brno’s rejection of 2.7 billion-crown investment from Amazon has sent is a major setback for the country’s efforts to attract more investors into the country which will also soon be hampered by planned new EU rules likely to cut the maximum incentives that can be offered to foreign investors. In this week’s edition of Marketplace, the head of the government agency CzechInvest Ondřej Votruba discusses the Amazon
Czech exports to Ukraine dropped by 28.8 percent in February while exports to Russia registered an 0.4 percent in that month, the Czech Statistical Office said on Monday. Analysts see the Crimea crisis as the main reason behind the drop, as well as a slowdown of the Russian economy. Overall, Czech exports grew by over 15 percent in February, driven by trade with Germany, Austria, China, France, and other countries. A spokesman for the Exporters’ Association said Czech companies were concerned about an escalation of the crisis in Ukraine, adding that many expect lower volumes of new orders from their Russian business partners.
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