In order to help those living below the poverty line -- estimated at about 500,000 out of a population of 7.5 million -- Serbian authorities recently took up a trade union proposal to open shops with cheap basic goods.
Stockpiles of cars, mobile phones and beauty products that piled up during the global downturn are being whittled away but restocking will do little to boost growth as cautious firms adjust to lower inventories.
The United States is keen to exchange views with U.S. trading partners, and will try to resolve European Union disputes through negotiation where possible, the top U.S. foreign trade official said on Monday 11 May.
As the impact of the global recession weighs in on wealthy Americans, high-end retailer Barneys New York Inc aims to close two of its seven department stores, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
Debenhams Plc, Britain's second-biggest department store group, is working on plans to raise up to 500 million pounds ($733 million) in a rights issue in the next few weeks to cut its 927 million pounds debt pile.
Retail veteran Vittorio Radice, who made his name in the 1990s by turning London department store Selfridges into a trend-setter, said on Friday 8 May there is unlikely to be recovery in the retail sector until 2012.
Retailers sought to dampen hopes of a quick recovery from recession at an industry summit this week, warning a legacy of over-expansion, changing consumer habits and online competition could curb growth for years.
Snowboarding gear retailer Zumiez Inc reported a narrower-than-expected 13.8 percent fall in April sales at stores open at least a year and forecast a narrower first-quarter loss, sending its shares up 2 percent.
Wal-Mart, the world's top retailer, said on Wednesday 6 May it has launched a pilot program to open convenience stores in China, seeking to boost its presence in one of the world's fastest growing retail markets.
Online auctioneer eBay Inc said on Tuesday 5 May it will close its facility in Vancouver, British Columbia, that employs roughly 700 people as it consolidates its North America customer service centers.
Retailers are experiencing the worst economic downturn in living memory, according to a straw poll of delegates at the World Retail Congress in Barcelona. But some of them are seeing signs that recovery is on the way.
Several U.S. retailers reported better-than-expected monthly sales figures for a second straight month in April, offering fresh evidence that consumers' willingness to spend is warming up with the spring weather.