The Togolese are among the most active traders on the West African coast, with much of the domestic trade handled by women. The national trade organization, Société Nationale de Commerce (SONACOM), has a monopoly on importation and distribution of soaps, cereals, sugar, salt, and industrial products, but there is still a flourishing free market both within Togo and with neighboring countries.
Most wholesalers have their headquarters in Lomé, the principal commercial and financial center. In Lomé, some shops specialize in such lines as dry goods, foodstuffs, and hardware. Elsewhere, retailers deal in a wide variety of goods rather than specializing in a few products. In the smaller towns, individual merchants deal in locally grown products and items of the first necessity. Kpalimé, Sokodé, and Tsévié are smaller regional commercial and trade centers.
Business hours are from 7:30 to 11:30 AM and 2:30 to 6 PM , Monday through Friday, and from 7:30 AM to 12:30 PM on Saturday. Banks are normally open from 7:30 to 11:30 AM and 2:30 to 4 PM on weekdays only.