European firms play an important part in the economy, and the French and Lebanese population has a strong influence in importing and marketing decisions. They buy and export lumber, coffee, cocoa, and palm oil products and import capital and consumer goods. Most European firms have their headquarters in Abidjan; many are also represented in Bouaké. In Abidjan and Bouaké there are specialty shops in such lines as dry goods, foodstuffs, hardware, electrical appliances, and consumer electronics. In the smaller towns of the interior, bazaars and individual merchants and peddlers deal in locally grown products and a few imported items.
Domestic trade is generally on a cash basis, but in the countryside, bartering is common. Many shopkeepers extend credit to farmers until the end of the harvest season. Major credit cards are not generally accepted. Installment purchase has been introduced for automobiles and major appliances. Prices and profit margins are regulated by the government for basic food products, many imported goods, and certain services.
Business hours are generally from 8 AM to noon and from 3:00 to 6:00 PM , Monday through Friday, and some businesses are open on Saturday. Banks are normally open on weekdays from 8 to 11:30 AM and 2:30 to 4:30 PM . Many businesses close during the month of August for vacation.