Libya flag Libya: Buying and Selling

The distribution network in Libya

Evolution of the Sector
The retail market in Libya remains traditional, with a strong presence of local shops. This is explained by the low purchasing power of Libyans. The explosion of, principally, small shops and businesses is accompanied by a jump in construction across the country, even in some of its poorest and most neglected areas. It is fuelled by increased public sector salaries and 40 years of pent-up demand for western brands and accoutrements. Much of the new business involves sales of imported goods that siphon cash out of the country. It is fed by dramatic increases in public sector salaries and the addition of tens of thousands of militiamen to the payroll of the government, which employs a quarter of all Libyans. Libyan consumers are savouring the flood of new products, services and brands into their long-isolated country. At a local level, Libyans are buying, building and travelling like rarely before.
Market share
 Retailing today still remains under state control. And yet, the Libyan authorities have encouraged the appearance of private operators by abolishing import licenses. The process of privatization has, however, been slowed down by the maintaining of subsidies on certain products, to the extent that today, they remain 90% subzidised and are distributed by the National Supply Company at extremely low prices.

In the large towns, shops resembling supermarkets are appearing: these are small trading companies (100 to 150m²), offering food products (dry and fresh products), and household products. The large foreign retail chains have not yet shown interest in this market, neither are there any local large and medium-sized supermarket chains. Non-food retail commerce has also kept its traditional structure with local shops and souks.

Retail Sector Organisations
The American Chamber of Commerce in Libya
US - Libya Business Association

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Latest Update: May 2024