Imports normally account for about one third of the goods distributed and importing is in the hands of a relatively small number of firms. Competition is limited by the acquisition of import licenses and profit margins are high. Many importers function as wholesalers and also have retail outlets. Locally produced consumer goods often are marketed through the same firms.
Retail outlets range from supermarkets and department stores, in the urban areas, to small general stores and itinerant merchants, in the rural regions. Purchases tend to be made in small quantities. Newspapers, radio, and television are the main advertising media.
Shops open weekdays between 8 and 9 AM ; large stores generally close at 4:30 or 5 PM , with an early closing one day a week. Food stores, drugstores, and family enterprises, however, often remain open until 9 PM or later. Most commercial establishments also have Saturday hours. They are generally closed on Sundays. Banks are normally open on weekdays from 9 AM to 2 PM .