Individual firms tend to be small and specialized. There is virtually no commercial activity in villages; the villager comes into the market town to buy and sell. Government-operated exchanges for cereals are located in municipalities. If the price of grain in the free market falls below the supermarket price, the government-operated exchanges purchase the grain and market it. In this manner, the government controls the price range of cereals. Franchising has grown in the past few years, primarily in foreign fast-food and apparel firms. Value-added taxes apply to most goods and services with different rates for different products.
Because of the scarcity of some commodities, the government controls the distribution of various essential goods, notably cement, coal, lignite, and steel. Under a 1954 law, municipal authorities enforce specified profit margins on designated commodities. These margins are established at four levels: importer or manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, and retailer. Customarily, a Turkish wholesaler supplies credit to retailers who, in turn, often extend credit beyond their own means to consumers. Wholesalers' margins tend to be small because of low overhead and keen competition. Due to Turkey's high inflation rate, wholesalers usually try to maintain minimal stocks to reduce carrying costs.
Most commercial firms belong to chambers of commerce, which exist in all cities. Chambers of industry are increasingly important in larger manufacturing centers. The government sponsors an international trade fair every year at Izmir. Shops are normally open from 9 AM to 1 PM and from 2 to 7 PM , Monday through Saturday; smaller establishments tend to stay open later and not close for lunch. Banking hours are from 8:30 AM to noon and 1:30 to 5 PM , Monday through Friday.