Dubai remains the most important center of trade and commerce, both for the nation and the region. Many food importers also serve as wholesalers, distributors, and retailers. There are about four or five large companies controlling most of the food retail sector. Franchising has become very popular in a variety of retail sectors including, restaurants, clothing, hardware supplies, beauty products, health care products, toys, sporting goods, etc.
Business hours tend to vary, although general hours of 8 AM to 1 PM and 4 to 7 PM are observed; most offices are closed Thursday afternoon, and Friday is the weekly holiday. Banks are open from 8 AM to noon, Saturday–Thursday.