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Business

Waiting for Christmas

Retailers are divided when it comes to the current economic slump and the oncoming Christmas business.

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Look but don"t buy - that"s what customers are doing, even in Düsseldorf"s Königsallee, affectionately known as "The Kö".

The economic slump is being felt here too.

On the third floor of the Peter Franke"s furniture store, "The Blue Wall", the owner is meeting his newly hired business consultant.

Questioned on the current business slump, Peter Franke says:

"The Blue Wall company hasn"t been around very long, so you can"t make any long-term comparisons. You can feel the direct reactions to the slump. Not so much in lower product interest but in the final purchase decision."

When customers look but don"t buy, this means no sales for the company. According to business consultant Elmar Fedderke it has become the norm, on a broad scale. "Sales are down and that"s a fact", he says. "We can only hope that sales will pick up around Christmas, and that consumers start buying again. But businesses are also to blame."

He says many retail shops don"t do enough to keep their customers. The best they offer is a slightly lower price.

Elmar Fedderke, business consultant:

"We need to get away from these constant price wars, which retailers still make a big deal about. But the German market has had enough, and there"s not much more to be done."