Swiss retail and wholesale giant Coop is taking some major foreign magazines off its newsstands because it says they won’t lower their prices to limit the disparity between the weak euro and the strong Swiss franc.
Basel-based Coop, which operates the second-biggest supermarket chain in Switzerland after Migros, says it is suspending sales of large foreign magazines such as Gala, Der Spiegel, Paris Match and Chi because their publishers won’t pass on their savings from the currency difference.
The Swiss National Bank’s surprise decision in mid-January to ditch its effort to keep the euro from trading below 1.20 francs sent a shock wave through global financial markets – and came as a blow to the Swiss export and tourist industries that had benefited from a weaker franc.
In a statement, Coop said its negotiations with suppliers to reflect the widening gap in prices between the eurozone and Switzerland had been successful in helping it reduce prices since mid-January for more than 10,000 items on its shelves.
But it said that with some foreign publishers, “the negotiations were unsuccessful”, resulting in the suspended sales based on what it said was “a decision that reflects [Coop’s] strong commitment in favour of low prices”.
“Coop has asked its suppliers to fully pass on their savings from foreign exchange gains related to the Swiss National Bank’s elimination of the euro-Swiss franc exchange rate floor,” said the company, which employs 75,000 people and also runs manufacturers like Bell meat processor and Swissmill grains.
But some of the suppliers had “refused to lower their prices in spite of all of Coop’s efforts”.
"Our customers do not accept it, and this is quite normal,” said Philipp Wyss, a Coop vice-president in charge of marketing and purchasing.
Magazines affected by the decision are Gala, Der Spiegel, Micky Maus, Neue Post, Freizeit Revue and the German edition of Vogue in German-speaking central and northern Switzerland; Grazia, Elle, Paris Match, Point de Vue and the French edition of Gala in western French-speaking Switzerland; and Grazia and Chi in the Italian-speaking southern part. Coop said it did reach agreement with the editor of the Italian edition of Vogue.
swissinfo.ch and agencies