Curfew Cut: Germans Get to Shop Until 8 p.m.
Germans are finally going to have longer shopping hours and fresh-baked bread on Sundays.
Under a new shop-closing law passed by parliament Friday, shops can be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, instead of 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday shopping will last until 4 p.m. instead of 2 p.m. The law, effective Nov. 1, will supplant current provisions for "long Thursdays" and once-a-month "long Saturdays."
Bakeries and pastry shops will be able to open at 5:30 a.m., an hour earlier than at present, and open on Sundays and holidays for three hours to sell fresh bread.
Easing retail hours is part of Chancellor Helmut Kohl's program to stimulate economic growth and employment, in part through deregulation. Both proponents and opponents saw the reform as an important symbol. To supporters, it was a step toward further economic liberalization. Opponents, notably trade unions and smaller retailers, argued that longer shopping hours were unnecessary and would only lead to creation of part-time jobs without benefits.
-- Ruth Walker
CEO Stock Worth Eight Times Pay
Chief executive officers in large companies own a median of eight times their base pay in company stock, up from from a five-times-pay multiple just two years ago, according to Towers Perrin, management consultants in New York. The firm says the trend reflects shareholder pressure to align the interests of top executives, and increasingly directors as well, with shareholders. In the survey, which looked at the Standard & Poor's 500 companies, better-performing firms generally had higher CEO stock-ownership levels.