Mexico City is the commercial hub of the country and is the principal distribution point for all types of commodities. Other large cities, such as Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Puebla, serve as distribution points for their respective regions. Regional marketing is dominated by the open market, with its small stalls or shops, where business is transacted on an individual bargaining basis. There are also chain stores, supermarkets, department stores (some selling by mail), and a government operated chain of more than 2,000 discount-priced food and clothing stores.
Although most sales are for cash, the use of consumer credit is increasingly extensive, especially for automobiles, furniture, household appliances, and other expensive items. A 10% to 15% value-added tax applies to most imported products. Products are advertised through newspapers, radio, television, outdoor signs, and motion picture shorts and slides.
In 1999, the federal government mandated that businesses should keep operational hours between 8 AM and 6 PM . However, most establishments continue to keep traditional work and operation hours, which can vary by region. These traditional hours are from 9 or 9:30 AM to 7 PM , Monday through Friday, with one or two hours for lunch. Some offices in Mexico City have kept hours from about 10 AM to 9 PM , with a two-hour lunch. Banks are open from 9 AM to 1:30 PM .