Poland - Domestic trade
In 1990, Poland replaced its 40-year old centrally planned economy with a free market system. Most small enterprises were privatized, bringing an end to chronic shortages of consumer goods. At the end of 1996, the share of private enterprises in retail trade exceeded 90%. The resulting increase in domestic demand was a primary factor in strengthening the business cycle. In the past few years, the trend in retail establishments, particularly in major cities, has moved from small, independent shops to international supermarket chains, hypermarkets, and large specialty stores. However, small business-owners have been forming associations aimed at promoting and preserving local, independent retailing. As of 2002, about 10% to 12% of the retail market was operated by foreign firms, particularly through chain stores providing a range of goods from food and apparel to furniture and hardware supplies. As of 2002, there were over 90 franchises in operation, with national firms as well as foreign firms represented.
Offices are open from 8 or 9 AM to 4 PM Monday through Friday. Food stores are open from 6 or 7 AM to 7 PM ; other stores, from 11 AM to 7 or 8 PM ; and banks, from 9 AM to 4 PM Monday through Friday, and 9 AM to 1 PM on Saturday. The most important trade exhibition, the Poznan International Fair, takes place in June.