Two CBA shops slip through Sunday-closing loophole

Issues

Two CBA stores near Lake Balaton have been declared outdoor traditional markets, because they sell goods in their parking lots, Hungarian online daily origo.hu reported on Friday. The designation allows those stores to stay open on Sundays, when their competition must close.

Local notary Mónika Tóthné Kiss told commercial channel HírTV that, in line with the Hungarian laws, a notary can grant a store special outdoor market status for a year, and this is what happened in the case of the CBA markets.

When a journalist of HírTV asked Zsolt Semjén, Hungary’s Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Christian Democratic Party that passed the law, what he thought about the two CBAs becoming “markets” he answered: “What do I have to do with that? … What kind of question is that? … You should try to put together an appropriate series of questions.”

Many players in the retail industry opposed the Sunday closing law, which came into effect on March 15. Critics have charged that the law hurts foreign-owned hypermarkets while providing a boost to local supermarket chains like CBA.

CBA is a Hungarian supermarket retail chain owned by László Baldauf, who has reportedly been a major supporter of the ruling Fidesz party.

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