Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Estonia's domestic trade was underdeveloped by international standards. Most trading companies were owned either by the state or by cooperatives. In recent years, many shops have been privatized or municipalized, new private shops established, and the assortment of goods widened. By 1992, there were 4,026 shops in Estonia.
Open-air markets control a large segment of domestic food sales. Market prices are usually lower than those in grocery stores, making it difficult for them to compete. Retail sales of food products amounted to $441 million in 1995.