The European Commission appears to be bowing to luxury-goods companies as it eases up on proposals that would expand online sales, according to industry observers. New rules are intended to loosen the grip brand owners have over online sales, but the EC has allowed a number of caveats that have watered down the measures. The rules will allow manufacturers to insist in many cases that retailers must have bricks-and-mortar stores to sell their goods, essentially blocking pure-play Internet retailers, including Amazon.com and eBay.

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