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German Minister Mulls Easing Shopping Hours

German Economics and Labor Minister Wolfgang Clement said on Wednesday he was in favor of liberalizing shop opening hours in Germany as part of an initiative to cut red tape. In an interview with public broadcaster ARD, Clement said he wanted to change existing shop laws that allowed the German retail trade to remain open only until 8 p.m. during weekdays and Saturdays, but forbid sales on Sundays and other public holidays. "Everything should become more flexible in Germany, steered from the grassroots rather than from above," Clement said. The mass-circulation daily Bild reported that under Clement's plans shop owners would be allowed to keep stores open 24 hours from Monday through Saturday while Germany's 16 states should determine Sunday shop opening hours.