There are many small specialty shops, but in the larger cities department stores sell all kinds of items. Supermarkets have been widely established and telephone shopping and delivery services are becoming popular. The number of franchise companies is growing. Reports indicate that in 1988, there were about 184 business-format franchised companies in the country. By 2002, there were about 747. These franchised businesses are about 2.5 times more successful than non-franchised businesses. Installment selling, called hire purchase, is used in the sale of many products. In the past few years, direct marketing has grown at an annual rate of about 7%. Reliable commercial credit agencies cover all the main cities and many smaller towns.
The usual business hours are from 9 AM to 5 PM , Monday– Friday, with some businesses also open from 9 AM to noon on Saturday. Retail shops generally stay open later, usually with evening hours at least one day a week. Restaurants and convenience stores are generally open to later hours. Many retail establishments are open on Saturday and Sunday. Travelers checks and credit cards are widely accepted. A 10% goods and services tax (GST) replaced wholesale and state sales taxes as of July 1, 2000. The GST applies to most goods and services with a few exceptions, including basic foods, education, and health care.
Most advertising is done through the press, radio, and television. Principal advertising agencies are in Sydney and Melbourne.