Sam Taylor

Adieu, Franc! Bonjour, Euro! By Lisa Yorgey Fireworks, parades and great fanfare marked France's adieu to the franc, a currency in circulation in its current form for more than 200 years. The Germans were a bit more pragmatic in their lebe woh—or goodbye—to the deutsche mark and let it quietly retire, reports Sascha Fuhren, marketing director, Deutsche Post. In total, about 304 million people living within 12 European countries have bid a fond farewell to their national currencies and embraced the euro. The Changeover The three-year transitional phase for the euro currency came to an end on Jan. 1, 2002. Euro cash

By Lisa Yorgey This January, the German government announced its plans to scrap two laws that have been thorns in the side for direct marketers doing business in Germany. Enacted in the protectionist era of the 1930s, the first law limited companies from offering consumers discounts of more than 3 percent. The second piece of legislation, which has attracted a good deal of press coverage in the past few years, was its bonus gift act. This law forbade any free giveaway of significant value with a purchase. U.S. cataloger Lands' End was most notably affected by this piece of legislation. Following the launch

It's not beginning to look a lot like Christmas just yet, but retailers know the importance of preparing early. With 1999 holiday shoppers spending an average of $1,080 on gift purchases, the sheer numbers can be daunting. Now is the time to gear up. "Gearing up" can mean lots of different things, from accepting orders on the Web; to dealing with customers over the phone; to delivering packages on time. There are several details to tend to long before you hear the first Christmas carol. Have a look inside some successful operations to learn how to begin. Christmas is Its Business Collin Street

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