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Panama – Retail and Consumer Issues

Panama is a rapidly growing country in Central America with a diverse retail industry. In this article, we will discuss typical opening hours of shops, forms of payment accepted, major supermarkets in Panama, online shopping popularity, expat-specific shops, and consumer rights.

Typical opening hours of shops in Panama and forms of payment accepted

Most shops in Panama are open from Monday to Saturday between 9:00 am and 7:00 pm, with some staying open until later at night. On Sundays, shops usually open in the afternoon and stay open until early evening.

As for forms of payment, most shops in Panama accept both cash and credit card payments. However, it is important to note that some smaller shops and markets may only accept cash.

Major Supermarkets in Panama and differences between them

There are several major supermarket chains in Panama, with the two biggest ones being Super 99 and Riba Smith.

Super 99 is a Panamanian supermarket chain with several stores throughout the country. It is known for its low prices and good quality products, including fresh produce and meat. Super 99 also has a focus on private-label products, which helps keep prices low.

Riba Smith is a Panamanian supermarket chain with several stores throughout the country. It is known for its high-quality products, including fresh produce and meat, and has a focus on international products, including imported goods from around the world. However, Riba Smith’s prices are generally higher than those at other supermarkets.


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Online shopping popularity and main websites

Online shopping is becoming increasingly popular in Panama, with more and more people opting to shop online instead of in physical stores. Some of the most popular online shopping websites in Panama include:

  • Amazon: This website offers a wide range of products, including electronics, clothing, and household items, and ships to Panama.

  • Super 99 Online: This website allows users to shop online and have their products delivered to their doorstep. It offers a wide range of products, including groceries and household items.

  • Riba Smith Online: This website also allows users to shop online and have their products delivered to their doorstep. It offers a range of products from groceries to electronics.

Shops in Panama specifically for expats and finding international products

There are several shops in Panama specifically for expats, catering to their specific needs and tastes. Some of these shops include:

  • Deli Gourmet: This shop is located in Panama City and specializes in international products, including food, drinks, and household items.

  • The Wine Store: This shop is located in Panama City and specializes in international wines and spirits.

  • Specialty Food Shops: There are several specialty food shops in Panama City that offer a range of international products, including cheeses, meats, and gourmet foods.

For finding specific international products, expats can also try visiting ethnic food stores or online retailers, such as Global Foods or World Market, which offer a range of products from different countries.

Consumer rights and contact details of main consumer organizations in Panama

Consumers in Panama have several rights that are protected by law. These include the right to a refund, the right to a replacement product or service, and the right to cancel a contract within a certain time period.

If consumers have a complaint or dispute with a business, they can contact the Autoridad de Proteccion al Consumidor y Defensa de la Competencia (ACODECO). ACODECO is responsible for enforcing consumer protection laws and can impose fines or penalties on businesses that violate these laws. Consumers can file a complaint with ACODECO online or by visiting one of their offices throughout the country.

In addition to ACODECO, there are several consumer organizations in Panama that can provide information and assistance to consumers. Some of the main organizations include:

  • El Consumidor: This is a non-profit consumer organization that aims to promote and protect consumer rights in Panama. It provides information and advice to consumers on a range of issues, including consumer protection laws, product safety, and fair trading practices.

  • Asociación Panameña de Consumidores y Usuarios: This organization is dedicated to promoting and protecting consumer rights in Panama. It provides information and assistance to consumers who have a complaint or dispute with a business.

Consumers can contact these organizations by phone, email, or through their websites for assistance with consumer-related issues.

In conclusion, the retail industry in Panama offers a range of shopping experiences and products for consumers. Most shops are open from Monday to Saturday between 9:00 am and 7:00 pm, with some staying open until later at night. The major supermarket chains in Panama are Super 99 and Riba Smith, each with their own unique selling points. Online shopping is becoming increasingly popular, with websites like Amazon, Super 99 Online, and Riba Smith Online offering a wide range of products. For expats, there are shops specifically catering to their needs, as well as specialty food shops and online retailers. Consumers in Panama have several rights that are protected by law and can seek assistance and information from organizations such as ACODECO, El Consumidor, and Asociación Panameña de Consumidores y Usuarios.


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