Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, January 31, 2021

We’re always hearing about how Europeans rush over Stateside and load up on everything with a pricetag attached. Now we know why: Continental retail is ridiculously regulated.

Not only are out-of-season sales banned in countries including Belgium, Italy, Spain, Greece and France, but a jungle of regulations also keeps European retailers in lock step: In most countries, they can’t sell below cost; in others they can’t advertise reduced prices in advance of sales or discount items until they have been on shelves more than a month.

A recent study in France explained that these bans were conceived to preserve “le jeu loyal de la concurrence,” or “the loyal game of competition.” Almost like a duel at dawn, fair competition isn’t considered possible without regulation to set a time and place for it.

Very Soviet-style. It’s a wonder EU economies are as robust as they are.

Despite the avowed nod to general welfare, there are black roots to this set of practices:

Some are said to have originated in the mid-1930s in Germany, when the Nazi Party wanted to protect the public from what it regarded as overly competitive “Jewish” practices by some shopkeepers.

Reform is afoot to liberate the sales-bonanza mechanism in France and other countries. Sweet chaos, via markdown prices!

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/31/2008 11:18:56 PM
Category: Political, Business, Society
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