Trade in rural areas is mostly informal and cash is used in transactions. The local market, particularly in fruit and vegetables, is an important feature of economic and social life. Domestic trade in urban centers is primarily through modern supermarket chains and independent stores. The companies sponsoring supermarkets tend to be in both the importing and wholesale businesses and take responsibility for distribution of goods to outlying villages, which are generally somewhat isolated. Domestic trade is hampered by street gangs that terrorize local and foreign residents and merchants. There are a few Australian-based franchises within the country.
Most stores are open weekdays from 8 AM to 5 PM and until noon on Saturdays. Banks are open from 9 AM to 2 PM Monday to Thursday and from 9 AM to 5 PM on Fridays. Other businesses operate from 8 AM to 4:30 PM weekdays. Most businesses and government offices do not open on the weekends.