Sweden - Domestic trade

Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmo are the nation's primary distribution centers. Of the country's retail business, most is in private hands, but the turnover of cooperative societies represents more than 10% of total retail trade, making the consumer cooperative movement the country's largest retail organization. The local organizations belong to the Cooperative Union and Wholesale Society, a central buying and manufacturing organization with two million members, which operates factories, department stores, supermarkets, and specialized shops. The Swedish Federation of Trade is another important organization for importers and traders in the private sector. Competition between the cooperatives and private enterprise has improved selling methods, so that Sweden's self-service shops are among the most modern in Europe.

Department stores are located in the major cities. Franchising has become popular in the fast-food, apparel, home improvement, and business services sectors. Wholesale and retail outlets, as well as supermarkets, are plentiful. Value-added taxes apply to all goods and services. Depending on the product, this VAT can be anywhere from 12% to 25%.

The nation's three major trade fair/exhibition sites are the Stockholm International Fair, the Swedish Exhibition and Congress Center, and the Sollentuna Fair.

Offices and stores are open on weekdays from 9 AM to 5 or 6 PM (in summer, sometimes to 3 or 4 PM ) and close early on Saturdays. However, many stores stay open one night a week, and some department stores are open on Sundays. Many businesses are closed, or management is unavailable, for extended vacations in the summer and around the Christmas holidays.

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