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German retailers' costs
Bakery image with map inset
Europe's shopkeepers carry the biggest burden of the euro changeover.
During the first weeks of 2002 -in most countries until the end of February - they have to accept both the old notes and coins and the new single currency.
That has turned them into the unofficial money changers of the 12-country eurozone, and cost them huge amounts of money - for new tills, staff training and extra security.
Probably hardest hit were small firms that handle lots of cash, like bakeries, butchers and corner shops.
The Baker's story
"The euro change-over went surprisingly well.
I had worried whether we would have enough euro coins to give as change for Deutschmark payments, but we needed much less than anticipated.
After just three days most payments were in euro only. We feared that we would have to cope with large amounts of Deutschmarks for at least 10 days.
Most of the extra cash we've already taken back to the bank, even though we will accept Deutschmarks until 28 February.
When we opened our 78 shops on 2 January, all customers were very patient, and accepted that there were delays at the till. I have had hardly any complaints.
Shop assistants and customers worked together to make sure the price was right.
Luckily, we didn't have any security problems either. No robberies, and no fakes.
Deterrence may have played a role. At each till we had large signs warning fraudsters that bank notes would be checked twice - under ultraviolet light and with a special safety pen.
We really had just one hiccup:
When we opened our shops on the first euro day, 16 tills didn't work straight away. They were our oldest tills, and it turned out that the software upgrade didn't do the trick for them. But the manufacturer got a fix to us by lunchtime.
So it's gone really well - and shoppers are taking to the euro with a gusto. Nobody is holding back, there are actually more customers than usual - they probably want to try out their new currency."

Full story:
Retailers cope with euro cash

Stefan Brunner

NAME: Stefan Brunner

AGE: 37

STATUS: Married, four children

JOB: Managing director, Brunner Bäckerei, Weiden, Bavaria, Germany A local bakery chain with 78 shops and 400 staff
Shoppers are taking to the euro with a gusto.
After just three days most payments were in euro only
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