This paper describes the experience of AMER in setting up and running retail audits in the region. This is confined to our experience because this is the first open discussion on the subject and we cannot, therefore, refer to the experience of our colleagues. The paper will show firstly the ways in which retail audits in the Middle East are different from those in western Europe. Major areas of difference in data collection are the records of purchases, the use of storage areas and the nationalities of shopkeepers. Major differences in the market structures are the rapid universe and structural changes, large personal export market, significant retail sales by wholesalers in souks, significant sales to other regions or countries by wholesalers, significant institutional sales of consumer packed products, grey imports and handling of new products. Certain measures taken by AMER have contributed to the amelioration of most problems. There still remains the problem of obtaining accurate purchases however, in the instances when the product list is far too long. Our only solution currently is to run parallel panels.
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