German Discount Ban Leaves Statute Books

26 July 2001

A German law limiting the discounts retailers can offer to consumers, which dates back nearly seventy years, yesterday left the statute books.

The law, which forbade discounts over 3% except during summer and winter sales, was passed in 1933, eight months after Adolf Hitler came to power, in order to protect smaller shopkeepers from larger (often Jewish-owned) department stores. A 1932 law banning promotional offers such as ‘buy two, get a third free’ was also overturned.

Although the move gives retailers greater leeway in appealing to customers, consumer associations are afraid of an imminent deluge of discount cards, which could pose a threat to smaller shopkeepers.

News source: Wall Street Journal