One in five want extended shopping hours

Almost 20 per cent of Austrians want shops to adopt longer business hours, it has been reported.A survey conducted by Viennese agency Karmasin for magazine Regal shows that 19 per cent of Austrians want a change of federal trade laws so stores are allowed to open longer than the current maximum 72 hours per week.Especially businessmen in tourism hotspots like the city centres of Vienna and Salzburg have campaigned in favour of longer opening hours for many years.Peter Peer, head of the Austrian Hotel Industry Association (ÖHV) claimed recently that Vienna’s retail trade would make an extra 50 million Euros per year if all shops were allowed to do business on Sundays. Peer also mentioned a study showing that 325,000 more overnight stays would be possible as well.Many tourists from abroad are reportedly irritated by regulations disallowing the vast majority of shops to do business on Sundays. The Austrian Roman Catholic Church’s strong influence is widely regarded as the major aspect why federal bylaws have not been reformed in favour of more liberal opening times.Viennese businessman Richard Lugner, whose Lugner City is one of the capital’s most popular shopping centre malls, said recently that he was considering filing a complaint to the Federal Constitutional Court (VfGH) about current regulations.Lugner, who is well known for inviting international stars like Sophia Loren and Claudia Cardinale to the Vienna Opera Ball, emphasised that his mall did well when it opened on Sundays during the European Football Championship two years ago. City hall decision-makers had issued a temporary ruling at that time.Andreas Braun, who masterminded the creation of crystal maker Swarovski’s flagship store in the Viennese city centre, labelled the Sunday shopping ban as “schizophrenic”.Meanwhile, KMU Forschung Austria research has shown that Tyroleans are planning to fork out more for presents this Christmas than they did in 2009.The agency said people living in the Alpine province were expected to spend an average 350 Euros on gifts ahead of the upcoming festive season, up by three per cent year on year.A study by the Federal Economy Chamber’s (WKO) Viennese branch (WKW) revealed recently residents of the capital were set to spend 10 Euros more on presents per capita this year than in 2009 when they forked out 350 Euros.The Austrian retail trade could achieve a turnover of 1.75 billion Euros from sales in the weeks leading up to Christmas this year, according to branch representatives.