The government supervises the supply and pricing of essential commodities, including fruits, vegetables, livestock, and dairy products, and has established several cooperative marketing and distribution organizations. Foreign goods are brought in by large importing concerns, centered at Karāchi, and distributed to retailers through many intermediaries.
There are several produce exchanges at Kara¯chi, and the trade organizations are represented by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Large supermarkets and department stores have not yet developed in the nation. Chain stores for clothing have become popular in major cities, with shops carrying locally produced goods. Most retail establishments are small or medium-sized, owned by a family or an individual. Governmentowned "Utility Stores" carry food and household items at controlled prices. As of 2002, there were about 200,000 retail outlets throughout the country. Steps have been taken to improve marketing and distribution facilities throughout the country. Advertising remains small in scope, in part because of the high rate of illiteracy. Outlets include television, newspapers, posters, handbills, and color slides shown in the motion-picture houses.
Banks are customarily open from 9 AM to 1 PM . Private businesses and multinationals usually operate from 9 AM to 5 PM during weekdays. Most businesses are closed on Sunday. Many international firms are also closed on Saturdays.