Business Briefs | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 04.06.2003
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Business Briefs

Chancellor Schröder says EU stability pact should be considered flexible; German cars do well in North America; German CEOs earn far less than their foreign counterparts.


Consumers will have to prove it's worth it now that German stores may stay open until 8:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Two in five shops to remain open longer on Saturday

Two in five shopkeepers plan to stay open after 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays, a survey conducted by the German Retailers Association (HDE) among its members reported Wednesday. In Germany's bigger cities three in five stores intend to take advantage of the new law on shop opening hours from next Saturday. But only nine percent of shops plan to stay open until 8:00 p.m. on weekdays -- most will close two hours earlier. Mainly stores in business and shopping zones in cities will be open longer. Since June 1, shops have been permitted to stay open until 8:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Only certain businesses, such as bakeries, flower shops and stores catering to tourists, may be open on Sundays.

Schröder: EU stability pact not set in stone

Chancellor Gerhard Schröder spoke out on Wednesday in favor of a flexible interpretation of the European Union's stability and growth pact, which stipulates euro zone members must keep their budget deficit below three percent of gross domestic product. The pact should not be taken dogmatically, Schröder said. When the economy is weak impulses for growth should be given. Deficit criteria needn't be adhered to at all costs, he maintained. When asked if Germany would exceed the three percent barrier again next year, Schröder said European agreements must be observed "as far as possible."

Increased sales for Porsche, BMW in North America

Most German car producers increased sales in North America in May. Thanks to its new SUV Cayenne, Porsche registered record sales, although turnover for models 911 und Boxster dropped by 27 percent. Volkswagen, however, recorded a 13 percent loss in sales, though it remains the leading European car model in the United States, the company stressed on Tuesday. BMW too, increased sales by 9 percent. Demand for the Mini remained constant, BMW, the car's manufacturer, said.

Chrysler reckons on operative losses

DaimlerChrysler expects operative losses in 2003 due to the prolonged price war spurred by General Motors and Ford in the United States. The U.S. subsidiary Chrysler would be faced with operative losses of around a billion euros during the second quarter of the year, DaimlerChrysler announced after a meeting of the supervisory board late Tuesday. The company's operative profits for 2003 would only come to around €5 billion. DaimlerChrysler made profits of €5.8 billion the previous year. The company had been counting on making even greater operative profits until now.

German managers earn comparatively little

German top managers on average earn more than four times less the amount their American colleagues make, a study commissioned by the Institute for German Economy in Cologne revealed on Wednesday. The heads of German industry are paid around $450,000 (€383,000) per year, less than the average in countries like Belgium, Britain, Canada and Italy. In Belgium managers earn around 50 percent more than their German colleagues. The study also showed that the gap between managers' and workers' pay is much lower in Germany than in other industrial countries. While German bosses earn around 13 times as much as their workers, CEOs in Britain, Canada and the Netherlands are paid more than 20 times as much. In the United States company heads earn more than 40 times as much on average. German managers have been under fire lately over their large pay packages.

Compiled by DW-World staff with material from wire services.