"Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping." -- Bo Derek

Commerce The sales in the UK began before Christmas and as time goes by it's looking increasingly likely that what were once called the January sales will be renamed with more festive vocabulary. On the continent, however, it seems there are very strict laws as to when the sales can begin:
"ARE you glum about brashly commercial holiday seasons? Annoyed when winter sales start earlier every year? Then Charlemagne has the place for you. Pick the right European country, and no sales pitches need disrupt your festive cheer. Try France, where sales will by law begin only on January 9th. Or Belgium: not only are sales banned before January 3rd but, under “pre-sales” rules, for six weeks beforehand shops cannot announce price reductions, lest somebody jumps the gun."
Which on the one hand means that it's not possible to wait until the last minute and (hopefully) buy all of your presents cheaper, but on the other, along with a range of other laws governing discounts has meant that many city centres have kept their own particular character with small shops, unlike here were they all pretty much look the same these days.

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