Retail trade is the selling of items on to end customers via retail stores or other sales channels. Businesses which conduct this type of trade are called retailers.
Retailers vary hugely in scale from small independent stores to large multi-site chains. Some stores sell many different lines across a range of product categories and others may have a narrower focus.
Retail trade encompasses the complete range, from a supermarket, offering a large selection of groceries, increasingly alongside other items including clothing, electrical goods and homewares, to a specialist store concentrating on one product category such as clothing, or even a narrower focus within that category, for example sportswear.
Convenience stores, discount stores, factory outlet stores and catalogue stores are all further examples of businesses operating in the retail trade.
The retail trade can also include retailers who do not have a physical store but sell via another method, such as mail order catalogue businesses. The approach is the same, in that they sell goods to an end consumer.
Retail trade is the end of a supply chain which begins with the manufacture of goods. Retailers may purchase goods directly from the manufacturer, or there may be a third party involved in the sale, such as a wholesaler or distributor.
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