• Switzerland's news in English

Swiss retail giants call for weaker franc

Meritxell Mir · 4 Jan 2012, 10:26

Published: 04 Jan 2012 12:08 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Jan 2012 10:26 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Swiss retailers Coop and Manor have joined forces to ask for a minimum exchange rate of 1.40 francs ($1.50) per euro and longer opening hours.

The supermarket and department store titans want the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to intervene again to lower the value of the national currency against the euro in order to fight retail tourism in bordering countries.

As long as the euro is not worth 1.30 francs ($1.39), the retail trade will suffer a competitive disadvantage against other countries," said Bertrand Jungo, head of Manor, in an interview with newspaper SonntagsBlick.

His counterpart at Coop, Joos Sutter, issued a similar message in a column published in the SonntagsZeitung. 

"A minimum exchange rate set at 1.45 francs ($1.55) would help us," he wrote, admitting the goal was “not realistic” and that a cap of 1.30 francs ($1.39) per euro would also be welcome.

On September 6th, the SNB set a minimum exchange rate of 1.20 francs ($1.28) to the euro in order to stop the "massive overvaluation" of Switzerland's national currency that has been hurting many industries and economic sectors, such as retail and tourism, for the last two years.

But establishing a new cap for the franc is not the only measure proposed by the heads of Coop and Manor to prevent millions of francs from leaking across the country's borders.

Both Sutter and Jungo also argue for an extension of opening hours in Switzerland in order to compete with the longer shopping days on offer at the other side of the border.  

The Manor chief cited the example of Germany's opening hours.

"In December, the shops were open until as late as midnight," said Jungo, pointing out that customers can cross the border and continue shopping once stores in Basel have closed.

He stopped short of calling for a full liberalization of opening times, which are set by the individual cantons, instead suggesting that shops be kept open until 8pm from Monday to Saturday.

Sutter proposed another measure to fight shopping tourism: reducing the duty-free limit, currently 300 francs ($321), for goods purchased abroad.

Meritxell Mir (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

2012-01-09 23:10:34 by Global Macro
What a dumb idea. Let's have a race to the bottom. The EU is imploding and drowning themselves in sovereign debt, monstrous bureacracy and welfare state. Why not join them in debasing the currency and reducing the standard of living for hard working Swiss?
Today's headlines
Villagers asked to help fund bridge renovations
The bridge links the two villages of Veltheim (pictured) and Holderbank. Photo: Lutz Fischer-Lamprecht

The crowdfunding campaign by the two communes is the first of its kind in Switzerland.

Police discover body buried in Orbe house
File photo: Bas Leenders

Police have opened an investigation after finding a body buried in a house in Orbe, in the canton of Vaud, on Saturday.

Valais shaken by 4.2 magnitude earthquake
The earthquake hit in the canton of Valais near Sierre. Photo: Alain Rouiller

It's the biggest earthquake to hit the country for two years.

Swiss Indoors kicks off without champ Federer
Federer celebrates with ball girls and boys after winning the event in 2015. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Pool/AFP

Stan Wawrinka is top seed as injured Federer sits it out.

IOC hires Russian doping whistleblower as consultant
IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed the news. File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has hired Vitaly Stepanov as a consultant and is helping his runner wife Yuliya.

‘Scary clown’ craze hits streets of Zurich
Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP

Police in Zurich have warned so-called ‘scary clowns’ that they could face charges, following a number of incidents in the city.

VIDEO: driver chases runaway car on Swiss motorway
Image: Neuchâtel police

Shocking footage shows the moment a man dodged lorries to chase after his runaway car on a Swiss motorway.

Saas-Fee crowdfunds low-cost season ski pass
Saas-Fee is hoping to attract 99,999 season pass holders. Photo: Denis Emery/Photo-genic.ch

Skiers could get their hands on a whole season pass for just 222 francs ($223) in the Swiss resort of Saas Fee this winter – if enough people want one.

Swiss billionaire fined for dodging import tax
Urs Schwarzenbach owns the luxury Dolder Grand hotel in Zurich. Photo: Wilhem Rosenkranz

Urs Schwarzenbach faces a $4 million fine for failing to properly declare some 200 artworks imported into Switzerland.

Muslim woman wins headscarf court battle
Photo: Jack Guez / AFP

A Swiss court has ruled against a company that fired a longtime employee after she began wearing the Muslim headscarf.

Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
jobs available