Port Louis is the commercial center and the chief port. A wide variety of goods are distributed through the standard channels of importers, wholesalers, retailers, supermarkets, and two hypermarkets. Franchising, mainly in restaurants, has become more popular in the past few years. The nation's first McDonald's opened in 2001.
The government maintains price and markup controls on a number of consumer goods, including rice, onions, iron and steel bars, edible oils, certain appliances, pharmaceuticals, sporting goods, timber, and many others. A 1998 Consumer Protection Act extends government pricing controls to several other basic commodities, such as cheese, butter, canned and frozen meats, and sugar.
The Mauritius Freeport, a customs duty-free zone in the port and airport, has been recently been established to shape the country into a major regional distribution, transshipment, and marketing center. This zone provides facilities for warehousing, transshipment operations and minor processing, simple assembly, and repackaging.
Business hours are from 9 AM to 4:30 PM , Monday–Friday, and 9 AM to 1 PM on Saturday. Banks are open from 9:15 AM to 3:15 PM , Monday–Friday, and 9:15 to 11:15 AM on Saturday. Most business is conducted in English and French.