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Retail is the process of selling consumer goods or services to customers through multiple channels of distribution to earn a profit. Retailers satisfy demand identified through a supply chain. The term "retailer" is typically applied where a service provider fills the small orders of a large number of individuals, who are end-users, rather than large orders of a small number of wholesale, corporate or government clientele. Shopping generally refers to the act of buying products. Sometimes this is done to obtain final goods, including necessities such as food and clothing; sometimes it takes place as a recreational activity. Recreational shopping often involves window shopping and browsing: it does not always result in a purchase.

Retail markets and shops have a very ancient history, dating back to antiquity. Some of the earliest retailers were itinerant peddlers. Over the centuries, retail shops were transformed from little more than "rude booths" to the sophisticated shopping malls of the modern era.

Most modern retailers typically make a variety of strategic level decisions including the type of store, the market to be served, the optimal product assortment, customer service, supporting services and the store's overall market positioning. Once the strategic retail plan is in place, retailers devise the retail mix which includes product, price, place, promotion, personnel and presentation. In the digital age, an increasing number of retailers are seeking to reach broader markets by selling through multiple channels, including both bricks and mortar and online retailing. Digital technologies are also changing the way that consumers pay for goods and services. Retailing support services may also include the provision of credit, delivery services, advisory services, stylist services and a range of other supporting services.

Retail shops occur in a diverse range of types and in many different contexts - from strip shopping centres in residential streets through to large, indoor shopping malls. Shopping streets may restrict traffic to pedestrians only. Sometimes a shopping street has a partial or full roof to create a more comfortable shopping environment - protecting customers from various types of weather conditions such as extreme temperatures, winds or precipitation. Forms of non-shop retailing include online retailing (a type of electronic-commerce used for business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions) and mail order.


Retail comes from the Old French word tailler, which means "to cut off, clip, pare, divide" in terms of tailoring (1365). It was first recorded as a noun with the meaning of a "sale in small quantities" in 1433 (from the Middle French retail, "piece cut off, shred, scrap, paring").[1] As in the French, the word, retail, in both Dutch and German, also refers to the sale of small quantities of items.

Definition and explanation

Retail refers to the activity of reselling. A retailer is any person or organisation is a reseller who sells goods or services directly to consumers or end-users.[2] Some retailers may sell to business customers, and such sales are termed non-retail activity. In some jurisdictions or regions, legal definitions of retail specify that at least 80 percent of sales activity must be to end-users.[3]

Retailing often occurs in retail stores or service establishments, but may also occur through direct selling such as through vending machines, door-to-door sales or electronic channels.[4] Although the idea of retail is often associated with the purchase of goods, the term may be applied to service-providers that sell to consumers. Retail service providers include retail banking, tourism, insurance, private healthcare, private education, private security firms, legal firms, publishers, public transport and others. For example, a tourism provider might have a retail division that books travel and accommodation for consumers plus a wholesale division that purchases blocks of accommodation, hospitality, transport and sightseeing which are subsequently packaged into a holiday tour for sale to retail travel agents.

Some retailers badge their stores as "wholesale outlets" offering "wholesale prices." While this practice may encourage consumers to imagine that they have access to lower prices, while being prepared to trade-off reduced prices for cramped in-store environments, in a strict legal sense, a store that sells the majority of its merchandise direct to consumers, is defined as a retailer rather than a wholesaler. Different jurisdictions set parameters for the ratio of consumer to business sales that define a retail business.

Retail format: types of retail outlet

The retail format (also known as the retail formula) influences the consumer's store choice and addresses the consumer's expectations. At its most basic level, a retail format is a simple marketplace, that is; a location where goods and services are exchanged. In some parts of the world, the retail sector is still dominated by small family-run stores, but large retail chains are increasingly dominating the sector, because they can exert considerable buying power and pass on the savings in the form of lower prices. Many of these large retail chains also produce their own private labels which compete alongside manufacturer brands. Considerable consolidation of retail stores has changed the retail landscape, transferring power away from wholesalers and into the hands of the large retail chains.[132]

In Britain and Europe, the retail sale of goods is designated as a service activity. The European Service Directive applies to all retail trade including periodic markets, street traders and peddlers.

Retail type by product

Retail stores may be classified by the type of product carried:

Food retailers

Retailers carrying highly perishable foodstuffs such as meat, dairy and fresh produce typically require cold storage facilities. Consumers purchase food products on a very regular purchase cycle - e.g. daily, weekly or monthly.

Softline retailers[133][134]

Softline retailers sell goods that are consumed after a single use, or have a limited life (typically under three years) in they are normally consumed. Soft goods include clothing, other fabrics, footwear, toiletries, cosmetics, medicines and stationery.

Grocery and convenience retail

Grocery stores, including supermarkets and hypermarkets, along with convenience stores carry a mix of food products and consumable household items such as detergents, cleansers, personal hygiene products. Consumer consumables are collectively known as fast-moving-consumer goods (FMCG) and represent the lines most often carried by supermarkets, grocers and convenience stores. For consumers, these are regular purchases and for the retailer, these products represent high turnover product lines. Grocery stores and convenience stores carry similar lines, but a convenience store is often open at times that suit its clientele and may be located for ease of access.

Hardline retailers

Retailers selling consumer durables are sometimes known as hardline retailers[135] - automobiles, appliances, electronics, furniture, sporting goods, lumber, etc., and parts for them. Goods that do not quickly wear out and provide utility over time. For the consumer, these items often represent major purchase decisions. Consumers purchase durables over longer purchase decision cycles. For instance, the typical consumer might replace their family car every 5 years, and their home computer every 4 years.

Specialist retailers

Specialist retailers operate in many industries such as the arts e.g. green grocers, contemporary art galleries, bookstores, handicrafts, musical instruments, gift shops.

Types of retail outlet by product type

Retail types by marketing strategy

Types of retail outlet by marketing strategy include:


A shopping arcade refers to a group of retail outlets operating under a covered walkway. Arcades are similar to shopping malls, although they typically comprise a smaller number of outlets. Shopping arcades were the evolutionary precursor to the shopping mall, and were very fashionable in the late 19th-century. Stylish men and women would promenade around the arcade, stopping to window shop, making purchases and also taking light refreshments in one of the arcade's tea-rooms. Arcades offered fashionable men and women opportunities to 'be seen' and to socialise in a relatively safe environment. Arcades continue to exist as a distinct type of retail outlet. Historic 19th-century arcades have become popular tourist attractions in cities around the world. Amusement arcades, also known as penny arcades in the US, are more modern incarnation of the eighteenth and nineteenth century shopping arcade.

Anchor store

An anchor store (also known as draw tenant or anchor tenant) is a larger store with a good reputation used by shopping mall management to attract a certain volume of shoppers to a precinct.[136]


The term, 'bazaar' can have multiple meanings. It may refer to a Middle-Eastern market place while a 'penny bazaar' refers to a retail outlet that specialises in inexpensive or discounted merchandise. In the United States a bazaar can mean a "rummage sale" which describes a charity fundraising event held by a church or other community organization and in which either donated used goods are made available for sale.


A Boutique is a small store offering a select range of fashionable goods or accessories. The term, 'boutique', in retail and services, appears to be taking on a broader meaning with popular references to retail goods and retail services such as boutique hotels, boutique beers (i.e. craft beers), boutique investments etc.[137]

Australia's Officeworks is a category killer, retailing everything for the home office or small commercial office; stationery, furniture, electronics, communications devices, copying, printing and photography services, coffee, tea and light snacks
Category killer

By supplying a wide assortment in a single category for lower prices a category killer retailer can "kill" that category for other retailers.[138] A category killer is a specialist store that dominates a given category. Toys "R" Us, established in 1957, is thought to be the first category killer, dominating the children's toys and games market.[139] For a few categories, such as electronics, home hardware, office supplies and children's toys, the products are displayed at the centre of the store and a sales person will be available to address customer queries and give suggestions when required. Rival retail stores are forced to reduce their prices if a category killer enters the market in a given geographic area. Examples of category killers include Toys "R" Us and Australia's Bunnings (hardware, DIY and outdoor supplies) and Officeworks (stationery and supplies for the home office and small office). Some category killers redefine the category. For example, Australia's Bunnings began as a hardware outlet, but now supplies a broad range of goods for the home handyman or small tradesman, including kitchen cabinetry, craft supplies, gardening needs and outdoor furniture. Similarly Officeworks straddles the boundary between stationery supplies, office furniture and digital communications devices in its quest to provide for all the needs of the retail consumer and the small, home office.

Chain store

Chain store is one of a series of stores owned by the same company and selling the same or similar merchandise.[140] Chain stores aim to benefit from volume buying discounts (economies of scale) and achieve cost savings through economies of scope (e.g. centralised warehousing, marketing, promotion and administration) and pass on the cost savings in the form of lower prices.

Concept store

Concept stores are similar to speciality stores in that they are very small in size, and only stock a limited range of brands or a single brand. They are typically operated by the brand that controls them. Example: L'OCCITANE en Provence. The limited size and offering of L'OCCITANE's stores is too small to be considered a speciality store. However, a concept store goes beyond merely selling products, and instead offers an immersive customer experience built around the way that a brand fits with the customer's lifestyle.[141] Examples include Apple's concept stores, Kit Kat's concept store in Japan.

Co-operative store

A co-operative store; also known as a co-op or coop, is a venture owned and operated by consumers to meet their social, economic and cultural needs.[142]

Convenience store

A convenience store provides limited amount of merchandise at above average prices with a speedy checkout. This store is ideal for emergency and immediate purchase consumables as it often operates with extended hours, stocking every day.[143]

Department store

Department stores are very large stores offering an extensive assortment of both "soft" and "hard" goods which often bear a resemblance to a collection of specialty stores. A retailer of such store carries a variety of categories and has a broad assortment of goods at moderate prices. They offer considerable customer service.[144]

Destination store

A destination store is one that customers will initiate a trip specifically to visit, sometimes over a large area. These stores are often used to "anchor" a shopping mall or plaza, generating foot traffic, which is capitalized upon by smaller retailers.[145]


Retailers that aim at one particular segment (e.g. high-end/ luxury retailers focusing on wealthy individuals or niche market).

Discount store

Discount stores tend to offer a wide array of products and services, but they compete mainly on price. They offer extensive assortments of merchandise at prices lower than other retailers and are designed to be affordable for the market served. In the past, retailers sold less fashion-oriented brands. However, in more recent years companies such as TJX Companies (Own T.J. Maxx and Marshalls) and Ross Stores are discount store operations increasingly offering fashion-oriented brands on a larger scale.[146]


The customer can shop and order through the internet and the merchandise is dropped at the customer's doorstep or an e-tailer. In some cases, e-retailers use drop shipping technique. They accept the payment for the product but the customer receives the product directly from the manufacturer or a wholesaler. This format is ideal for customers who do not want to travel to retail stores and are interested in home shopping.[147]

A general store in Scarsdale, Victoria, Australia operates as a post-office, newsagent, petrol station, video hire, grocer and take-away food retailer
General merchandise retailer

A general merchandise retailer stocks a variety of products in considerable depth. The types of product offerings vary across this category. Department stores, convenience stores, hypermarkets and warehouse clubs are all examples of general merchandise retailers.[148]

General store

A general store is a store that supplies the main needs of the local community and is often located in outback or rural areas with low population densities. In areas of very low population density, a general store may be the only retail outlet within hundreds of miles. The general store carries a very broad product assortment; from foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals through to hardware and fuel. In addition, a general store may provide essential services such as postal services, banking services, news agency services and may also act as an agent for farm equipment and stock-food suppliers.[149]

Give-away shop

As the name implies, a give-away shop provides goods for free. There are several different models of give-away shop in popular use. One is where goods are free to any shopper; an alternative is that shoppers must provide a product before they can take a product and a third variation is where consumers have the option of taking goods for free or paying any amount that they can afford. For example, Australia's restaurant group Lentil as Anything operates on a pay whatever you feel is right model.[150]


Hawkers also known as a peddlers, costermongers or street vendors; refer to a vendor of merchandise that is readily portable. Hawkers typically operate in public places such as streets, squares, public parks or gardens or near the entrances of high traffic venues such as zoos, music and entertainment venues, but may also call on homes for door-to-door seling.[151] Hawkers are a relatively common sight across Asia.

High Street store

A high street store is a term used widely in the United Kingdom where more than 5,000 High Streets where a variety of stores congregate along a main road.[152] Stores situated in the High Street provide for the needs of a local community, and often give a locality a unique identity.


A hypermarket (also known as hypermart) provides variety and huge volumes of exclusive merchandise at low margins. The operating cost is comparatively less than other retail formats; may be defined as "a combined supermarket and discount store, at least 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) or larger, that sells a wide variety of food and general merchandise at a low price."[153]


A mall has a range of retail shops at a single building or outlet, arranged on a single level or multiple levels. A shopping mall typically includes one or more anchor stores.[154] The retail mix in a mall may include outlets such as food and entertainment, grocery, electronics, furniture, gifts and fashion. Malls provide 7% of retail revenue in India, 10% in Vietnam, 25% in China, 28% in Indonesia, 39% in the Philippines, and 45% in Thailand.[155] Malls are typically managed by a central management/ marketing authority which ensures that the mall attracts the right type of retailer and an appropriate retail mix.

Mom-and-pop store

A small retail outlet owned and operated by an individual or family. Focuses on a relatively limited and selective set of products.

UNIQLO Pop-Up store at Union Square station
Pop-up retail store

A Pop-up retail store is a temporary retail space that opens for a short period of time, possibly opening to sell a specific run of merchandise or for a special occasion or holiday period. The key to the success of a pop-up is novelty in the merchandise.[156]

Retail marketplace

A Marketplace is defined as venue for the retail sales of all products, packed and unpacked where the sale is to end users.[157] In practice, retail markets are most often associated with the sale of fresh produce, including fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and poultry, but may also sell small consumable household goods such as cleaning agents. Globally, different terms may be used to refer to a retail market. For instance, in the Middle East, a market place may be known as a bazaar or souq/souk

Market square

A market square is a city square where traders set up temporary stalls and buyers browse for purchases. In England, such markets operate on specific days of the week. This kind of market is very ancient, and countless such markets are still in operation around the world.

Speciality store

A speciality (AE: specialty) store has a narrow marketing focus  - either specializing on specific merchandise, such as toys, footwear, or clothing, or on a target audience, such as children, tourists, or plus-size women.[158] Size of store varies  - some speciality stores might be retail giants such as Toys "R" Us, Foot Locker, and The Body Shop, while others might be small, individual shops such as Nutters of Savile Row.[158] Such stores, regardless of size, tend to have a greater depth of the specialist stock than general stores, and generally offer specialist product knowledge valued by the consumer. Pricing is usually not the priority when consumers are deciding upon a speciality store; factors such as branding image, selection choice, and purchasing assistance are seen as important.[158] They differ from department stores and supermarkets which carry a wide range of merchandise.[159]


A supermarket is a self-service store consisting mainly of grocery and limited products on non-food items.[160] They may adopt a Hi-Lo or an EDLP strategy for pricing. The supermarkets can be anywhere between 20,000 square feet (1,900 m2) and 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2). Example: SPAR supermarket.

Variety store

Variety stores offer extremely low-cost goods, with a vast array of selection. The downfall to this is that the items are not very high quality.[161]

Vending machine
Vending machines can be used to sell goods such as food and beverages as well as services such as tickets to events or public transport. Pictured a beer vending machine

A vending machine is an automated piece of equipment wherein customers can drop the money in the machine which dispenses the customer's selection. The vending machine is a pure self-service option. Machines may carry a phone number which customers can call in the event of a fault.[162]

Some stores take a no frills approach, while others are "mid-range" or "high end", depending on what income level they target.

Warehouse club

Warehouse clubs are membership-based retailers that usually sell a wide variety of merchandise, in which customers may buy large, wholesale quantities of the store's products, which makes these clubs attractive to both bargain hunters and small business owners. The clubs are able to keep prices low due to the no-frills format of the stores. In addition, customers may be required to pay annual membership fees in order to shop.[163]

Warehouse store

Warehouse stores are retailers housed in warehouses, and offer low-cost, often high-quantity goods with minimal services, e.g. goods are piled on pallets or steel shelves. shopping aisles are narrow and cramped, added-value services such as home delivery are non-existent.[164]

Other retail types

Other types of retail store include:

  • Automated retail stores  - self-service, robotic kiosks located in airports, malls and grocery stores. The stores accept credit cards and are usually open 24/7. Examples include ZoomShops and Redbox.
  • Big-box stores  - encompass larger department, discount, general merchandise, and warehouse stores.
  • Second-hand retail
Some shops sell second-hand goods. In the case of a nonprofit shop, the public donates goods to the shop to be sold. In give-away shops goods can be taken free.
Pawnbrokers Another form is the pawnshop, in which goods are sold that were used as collateral for loans. There are also "consignment" shops, which are where a person can place an item in a store and if it sells, the person gives the shop owner a percentage of the sale price. The advantage of selling an item this way is that the established shop gives the item exposure to more potential buyers. E-tailers like OLX and Quikr also offer second-hand goods.

Retailers can opt for a format as each provides different retail mix to its customers based on their customer demographics, lifestyle and purchase behaviour. An effective format will dtermine how products are display products, as well as how target customers are attracted.


To achieve and maintain a foothold in an existing market, a prospective retail establishment must overcome the following hurdles:

  • Regulatory barriers including
    • Restrictions on real estate purchases, especially as imposed by local governments and against "big-box" chain retailers;
    • Restrictions on foreign investment in retailers, in terms of both absolute amount of financing provided and percentage share of voting stock (e.g. common stock) purchased;
  • Unfavourable taxation structures, especially those designed to penalize or keep out "big box" retailers (see "Regulatory" above);
  • Absence of developed supply chain and integrated IT management;
  • High competitiveness among existing market participants and resulting low profit margins, caused in part by
    • Constant advances in product design resulting in constant threat of product obsolescence and price declines for existing inventory; and
  • Lack of properly educated and/or trained work force, often including management, caused in part by loss in Business.

Global top ten retailers

China is currently the largest retail market in the world.[165]

Worldwide top ten retailers[166]
Rank Company Country of origin 2015 revenue ($US million) Dominant format 2015 Number of countries of operation 2015
1 Walmart  United States $482,130 Hypermarket/Supercenter/Superstore 30
2 Costco  United States $116,199 Cash & Carry/Warehouse Club 10
3 Kroger  United States $109,830 Supermarket 1
4 Schwarz Gruppe (Lidl)  Germany $94,448 Discount Store 26
5 Walgreens Boots Alliance  United States $89,631 Drug Store/Pharmacy 10
6 The Home Depot  United States $88,519 Home Improvement 4
7 Carrefour  France $84,856 Hypermarket/Supercenter/Superstore 35
8 Aldi  Germany $82,164 Discount Store 17
9 Tesco  United Kingdom $81,019 Hypermarket/Supercenter/Superstore 10
10 Amazon  United States $79,268 Non-Store 14


Retail stores may or may not have competitors close enough to affect their pricing, product availability, and other operations. A 2006 survey found that only 38% of retail stores in India believed they faced more than slight competition.[167] Competition also affected less than half of retail stores in Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, and Azerbaijan. In all countries the main competition was domestic, not foreign.[168]

Country % of retail stores facing competition[169]
India 38%
Kazakhstan 44%
Bulgaria 46%
Azerbaijan 48%
Uzbekistan 58%
Armenia 58%
Georgia 59%
Kyrgyzstan 59%
Russia 62%
Belarus 64%
Croatia 68%
Romania 68%
Ukraine 72%
Turkey 73%
Serbia 74%
Tajikistan 74%
Slovenia 77%
Latvia 78%
Bosnia and Herzegovina 79%
Moldova 79%
Czech Republic 80%
Slovakia 80%
Poland 83%
Hungary 87%
Estonia 88%
Lithuania 88%
Macedonia 88%
Albania 89%

Retail trade provides 9% of all jobs in India and 14% of GDP.[170]

Mergers and acquisitions

Between 1985 and 2018 there have been 46,755 mergers or acquisitions conducted globally in the retail sector (either acquirer or target from the retail industry). These deals cumulate to an overall known value of around 2.561 bil. USD. The three major Retail M&A waves took place in 2000, 2007 and lately in 2017. However the all-time high in terms of number of deals was in 2016 with more than 2,700 deals. In terms of added value 2007 set the record with 225 bil. USD.[171]

Here is a list of the top ten largest deals (ranked by volume) in the Retail Industry:[]

Date Announced Acquiror Name Acquiror Mid Industry Acquiror Nation Target Name Target Mid Industry Target Nation Value of Transaction ($mil)
11/01/2006 CVS Corp Other Retailing United States Caremark Rx Inc Healthcare Providers & Services (HMOs) United States 26,293.58
03/09/2007 AB Acquisitions Ltd Other Financials United Kingdom Alliance Boots PLC Other Retailing United Kingdom 19,604.19
12/18/2000 Shareholders Other Financials United Kingdom Granada Compass-Hospitality Food & Beverage Retailing United Kingdom 17,914.68
01/20/2006 AB Acquisition LLC Other Financials United States Albertsons Inc Food & Beverage Retailing United States 17,543.85
02/26/2013 Home Depot Inc Home Improvement Retailing United States Home Depot Inc Home Improvement Retailing United States 17,000.00
02/28/2005 Federated Department Stores Discount and Department Store Retailing United States May Department Stores Co Non Residential United States 16,465.87
08/30/1999 Carrefour SA Food & Beverage Retailing France Promodes Food & Beverage Retailing France 15,837.48
06/19/2012 Walgreen Co Other Retailing United States Alliance Boots GmbH Other Retailing Switzerland 15,292.48
07/02/2007 Wesfarmers Ltd Food & Beverage Retailing Australia Coles Group Ltd Food & Beverage Retailing Australia 15,287.79
06/03/2011 Wal-Mart Stores Inc Discount and Department Store Retailing United States Wal-Mart Stores Inc Discount and Department Store Retailing United States 14,288.00

Statistics for national retail sales

United States

The United States retail sector features the largest number of large, lucrative retailers in the world. A 2012 Deloitte report published in STORES magazine indicated that of the world's top 250 largest retailers by retail sales revenue in fiscal year 2010, 32% of those retailers were based in the United States, and those 32% accounted for 41% of the total retail sales revenue of the top 250.[172]

U.S. Monthly Retail Sales, 1992-2010

Since 1951, the U.S. Census Bureau has published the Retail Sales report every month. It is a measure of consumer spending, an important indicator of the US GDP. Retail firms provide data on the dollar value of their retail sales and inventories. A sample of 12,000 firms is included in the final survey and 5,000 in the advanced one. The advanced estimated data is based on a subsample from the US CB complete retail & food services sample.[173]

Central Europe

In 2011, the grocery market in six countries of Central Europe was worth nearly EUR107bn, 2.8% more than the previous year when expressed in local currencies. The increase was generated foremost by the discount stores and supermarket segments, and was driven by the skyrocketing prices of foodstuffs. This information is based on the latest PMR report entitled Grocery retail in Central Europe 2012[174]


The two largest supermarkets chains in Switzerland, Migros and Coop, are cooperatives.

National accounts show a combined total of retail and wholesale trade, with hotels and restaurants. in 2012 the sector provides over a fifth of GDP in tourist-oriented island economies, as well as in other major countries such as Brazil, Pakistan, Russia, and Spain. In all four of the latter countries, this fraction is an increase over 1970, but there are other countries where the sector has declined since 1970, sometimes in absolute terms, where other sectors have replaced its role in the economy. In the United States the sector has declined from 19% of GDP to 14%, though it has risen in absolute terms from $4,500 to $7,400 per capita per year. In China the sector has grown from 7.3% to 11.5%, and in India even more, from 8.4% to 18.7%. Emarketer predicts China will have the largest retail market in the world in 2016.[175]

In 2016, China became the largest retail market in the world.[165]

Retail trade, wholesale, hotels and restaurants (data from the United Nations)[176]
Economy As % of GDP, 1970 As % of GDP, 2012 1970 value per capita (2012 prices) 2012 value per capita
Afghanistan 13.1 8.4 $140 $58
Albania 11.5 22.5 $188 $858
Algeria 17.3 11.9 $572 $639
Andorra 40.5 26.5 $17,532 $10,915
Angola 12.6 15.0 $513 $839
Anguilla 33.9 27.8 $2,166 $5,577
Antigua and Barbuda 26.4 26.8 $1,081 $3,540
Argentina 15.4 15.7 $1,041 $1,825
Armenia   15.2   $510
Aruba 26.9 19.1 $1,140 $4,757
Australia 11.4 11.7 $3,736 $7,960
Austria 17.4 18.8 $3,281 $8,782
Azerbaijan   9.0   $668
Bahamas 28.0 24.5 $5,335 $5,299
Bahrain 12.5 6.4 $3,046 $1,478
Bangladesh 15.9 15.1 $61 $124
Barbados 26.1 24.3 $2,879 $3,890
Belarus   16.8   $1,127
Belgium 12.9 14.2 $2,606 $6,189
Belize 17.0 20.3 $297 $972
Benin 17.7 17.4 $89 $131
Bermuda 17.6 11.2 $8,907 $9,648
Bhutan 8.2 8.2 $30 $205
Bolivia 9.1 11.1 $168 $286
Bosnia and Herzegovina   17.9   $807
Botswana 9.2 16.8 $60 $1,206
Brazil 16.4 21.3 $756 $2,413
British Virgin Islands 19.7 27.2 $2,178 $8,821
Brunei Darussalam 1.0 3.7 $495 $1,536
Bulgaria 14.6 13.8 $272 $966
Burkina Faso 14.9 14.2 $46 $92
Burundi 8.1 18.9 $16 $43
Cambodia 16.6 14.5 $86 $137
Cameroon 27.0 20.4 $270 $245
Canada 13.6 13.0 $3,586 $6,788
Cape Verde 24.5 18.7 $269 $718
Cayman Islands 12.0 12.2 $3,544 $7,175
Central African Republic 14.0 13.5 $100 $65
Chad 20.5 12.6 $122 $103
Chile 14.9 11.7 $780 $1,801
China 7.3 11.5 $20 $700
China: Hong Kong SAR 19.1 29.3 $1,197 $10,772
China: Macao SAR 8.0 14.9 $592 $11,629
Colombia 13.0 12.4 $439 $959
Comoros 26.2 14.5 $232 $125
Congo 13.2 5.4 $256 $185
Cook Islands 13.7 39.6 $1,069 $5,912
Costa Rica 19.9 16.3 $805 $1,531
Croatia   15.4   $2,012
Cuba 18.4 15.2 $432 $959
Cyprus 13.6 18.8 $958 $4,975
Czech Republic   13.2   $2,429
Czechoslovakia (Former) 8.0   $127  
Democratic Republic of North Korea 11.7 18.3 $231 $107
Democratic Republic of the Congo        
Denmark 20.5 15.5 $6,169 $8,708
Djibouti 45.0 18.6 $1,470 $294
Dominica 9.6 15.0 $163 $1,046
Dominican Republic 17.2 18.7 $270 $1,073
Ecuador 8.3 12.6 $195 $713
Egypt 11.0 14.4 $75 $454
El Salvador 22.6 21.2 $534 $804
Equatorial Guinea 6.4 0.9 $56 $185
Eritrea   19.4   $98
Estonia   14.0   $2,432
Ethiopia   18.6   $84
Ethiopia (Former) 8.4      
Fiji 8.3 18.6 $216 $848
Finland 12.3 13.3 $2,268 $6,103
France 14.8 15.0 $2,969 $5,933
French Polynesia 14.7 16.1 $2,142 $4,212
Gabon 28.1 12.1 $2,918 $1,787
Gambia 27.1 28.8 $143 $147
Georgia   18.9   $685
Germany 12.2 11.4 $2,273 $4,736
Ghana 5.3 10.9 $58 $175
Greece 19.6 20.2 $2,469 $4,527
Greenland 14.0 10.5 $2,219 $4,326
Grenada 18.2 12.3 $294 $913
Guatemala 17.5 21.6 $385 $720
Guinea 34.0 16.2 $132 $86
Guinea-Bissau 20.7 19.4 $124 $99
Guyana 18.9 15.1 $388 $543
Haiti 17.4 18.4 $168 $130
Honduras 17.2 17.1 $247 $399
Hungary 9.8 14.1 $531 $1,760
Iceland 11.3 11.0 $1,873 $4,585
India 8.4 18.7 $31 $283
Indonesia 17.7 13.9 $120 $494
Iran (Islamic Republic of) 10.6 11.6 $473 $834
Iraq 8.2 6.4 $215 $290
Ireland 17.6 18.0 $2,293 $8,295
Israel 9.8 10.0 $1,346 $3,145
Italy 16.0 15.0 $2,755 $4,963
Ivory Coast 21.7 14.7 $353 $181
Jamaica 19.4 22.4 $1,056 $1,197
Japan 15.6 13.9 $3,004 $6,525
Jordan 17.9 10.1 $478 $445
Kazakhstan   16.8   $2,086
Kenya 6.8 13.2 $49 $125
Kiribati 12.4 8.6 $439 $150
Kosovo   18.1   $508
Kuwait 8.3 3.2 $13,693 $1,797
Kyrgyzstan   19.7   $233
Laos People's DR 14.2 20.3 $44 $278
Latvia   17.9   $2,467
Lebanon 31.4 27.6 $2,829 $2,522
Lesotho 13.0 9.0 $46 $108
Liberia 11.1 5.0 $106 $18
Libya 2.8 4.9 $543 $763
Liechtenstein 19.9 17.8 $12,763 $28,361
Lithuania   19.9   $2,782
Luxembourg 13.8 13.4 $5,010 $14,141
Madagascar 8.7 11.0 $70 $49
Malawi 3.7 19.8 $10 $70
Malaysia 12.4 16.5 $229 $1,716
Maldives 29.8 30.8 $252 $2,373
Mali 7.3 16.2 $23 $112
Malta 28.7 15.8 $1,104 $3,238
Marshall Islands 24.5 16.1 $531 $607
Mauritania 2.1 7.1 $20 $72
Mauritius 10.0 19.3 $167 $1,782
Mexico 19.3 17.8 $1,063 $1,739
Micronesia 13.1 15.1 $219 $477
Monaco 39.1 30.3 $34,091 $46,027
Mongolia 21.4 11.9 $237 $439
Montenegro   22.6   $1,475
Montserrat 19.4 7.6 $1,051 $974
Morocco 22.5 12.4 $253 $365
Mozambique 12.7 17.6 $31 $102
Myanmar 25.9 20.1 $48 $226
Namibia 8.0 14.7 $326 $832
Nauru 14.8 16.8 $7,812 $2,014
Nepal 4.7 15.4 $14 $101
Netherlands 16.4 15.8 $3,702 $7,283
Netherlands Antilles 16.4 18.2 $1,417 $3,349
New Caledonia 34.7 13.3 $9,624 $5,169
New Zealand 15.5 12.2 $3,607 $4,689
Nicaragua 15.3 16.5 $352 $289
Niger 10.6 14.1 $71 $56
Nigeria 14.6 15.9 $148 $247
Norway 16.7 8.5 $6,109 $8,521
Oman 1.7 7.7 $111 $1,822
Pakistan 18.8 20.6 $99 $248
Palau 16.3 31.2 $1,565 $3,200
Panama 16.8 19.6 $497 $1,864
Papua New Guinea 13.9 9.3 $243 $204
Paraguay 18.3 19.9 $304 $771
Peru 14.2 18.6 $583 $1,271
Philippines 10.7 19.4 $153 $501
Poland 9.2 20.2 $398 $2,590
Portugal 13.7 19.6 $1,119 $3,926
Puerto Rico 16.7 9.4 $2,024 $2,635
Qatar 5.0 5.6 $5,647 $5,208
Korea, South 17.1 11.8 $345 $2,712
Moldova   17.8   $367
Romania 3.1 7.1 $73 $557
Russian Federation   20.7   $2,934
Rwanda 9.9 15.7 $35 $97
Saint Kitts and Nevis 8.4 12.6 $256 $1,800
Saint Lucia 20.6 23.4 $527 $1,707
Samoa 14.8 23.6 $312 $851
San Marino 15.8 12.9 $5,282 $7,643
Sao Tome and Principe 25.5 26.2 $273 $363
Saudi Arabia 4.6 8.2 $799 $2,067
Senegal 22.7 20.4 $218 $207
Serbia   11.0   $582
Seychelles 32.7 29.4 $1,039 $3,285
Sierra Leone 12.9 7.6 $93 $55
Singapore 27.8 19.5 $2,008 $10,179
Slovakia   26.6   $4,470
Slovenia   14.4   $3,155
Solomon Islands 10.2 10.5 $121 $193
Somalia 9.3 10.6 $21 $14
South Africa 14.4 16.0 $847 $1,171
South Sudan   15.4   $143
Spain 15.1 21.4 $1,956 $6,060
Sri Lanka 14.5 20.8 $94 $586
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 12.6 16.5 $231 $1,045
State of Palestine 16.7 18.4 $136 $448
Sudan   16.8   $232
Sudan (Former) 16.8   $0  
Suriname 18.3 23.3 $915 $2,183
Swaziland 15.5 9.8 $197 $306
Sweden 12.1 12.8 $3,315 $7,056
Switzerland 19.9 17.8 $10,641 $14,080
Syrian Arab Republic 20.4 22.7 $184 $482
Tajikistan   20.3   $193
Macedonia   16.5   $749
Thailand 24.3 18.0 $239 $1,039
Timor-Leste   4.0   $195
Togo 23.5 8.2 $195 $49
Tonga 12.7 14.6 $214 $646
Trinidad and Tobago 18.9 17.1 $1,323 $2,966
Tunisia 11.7 13.5 $147 $558
Turkey 11.1 16.5 $437 $1,757
Turkmenistan   4.2   $274
Turks and Caicos Islands 38.2 38.0 $1,557 $8,520
Tuvalu 9.5 11.2 $182 $451
Tanzania: Mainland, see also Zanzibar 15.0 15.8 $51 $96
Uganda 11.8 22.3 $50 $133
Ukraine   17.5   $679
United Arab Emirates 15.4 12.1 $24,122 $5,024
United Kingdom 15.3 16.5 $2,662 $6,490
United States 19.0 14.5 $4,488 $7,436
Uruguay 12.9 16.5 $810 $2,419
USSR (Former) 8.1      
Uzbekistan   9.9   $178
Vanuatu 18.2 21.4 $266 $651
Venezuela 9.5 16.4 $1,152 $2,099
Vietnam 12.9 16.8 $39 $289
Yemen   16.3   $224
Yemen Arab Republic (Former) 13.7      
Yemen Democratic (Former) 21.2      
Yugoslavia (Former) 10.4      
Zambia 12.6 15.0 $244 $229
Zanzibar   18.2   $119
Zimbabwe 14.9 10.7 $125 $77


Among retailers and retails chains a lot of consolidation has appeared over the last couple of decades. Between 1988 and 2010, worldwide 40,788 mergers & acquisitions with a total known value of 2.255 trillion USD have been announced.[177] The largest transactions with involvement of retailers in/from the United States have been: the acquisition of Albertson's Inc. for 17 bil. USD in 2006,[178] the merger between Federated Department Stores Inc with May Department Stores valued at 16.5 bil. USD in 2005[179] - now Macy's, and the merger between Kmart Holding Corp and Sears Roebuck & Co with a value of 10.9 bil. USD in 2004.[180]


See also

Types of sales person:

Types of store or shop:

Influential thinkers in sales and retail:[181]

  • Dale Carnegie: author and lecturer; proponent of salesmanship, public speaking and self-improvement
  • E. St. Elmo Lewis: salesmen for NCR and developer of the AIDA model of selling
  • William Thomas Rawleigh: founder of Rawleigh's company with one of the largest travelling sales teams in the United States
  • Harry Gordon Selfridge: founder of UK Selfridges; redefined shopping away from essential errand to a pleasurable activity; was noted for introducing a touch of theatre and celebrity appearances to department stores; also wrote the book, The Romance of Commerce published in 1918.
  • Walter Dill Scott: psychologist and author; wrote a number of books on the psychology of selling in the early twentieth century
  • Thomas J. Watson: salesman at NCR and CEO of IBM; often described as the "greatest American salesman"


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Further reading

  • Adburgham, A., Shopping in Style: London from the Restoration to Edwardian Elegance, London, Thames and Hudson, 1979
  • Alexander, A., "The Study of British Retail History: Progress and Agenda", in The Routledge Companion to Marketing History, D. G. Brian Jones and Mark Tadajewski (eds.), Oxon, Routledge, 2016, pp 155-172
  • Feinberg, R. A. and Meoli, J., [Online:"A Brief History of the Mall"], in Advances in Consumer Research, Volume 18, Rebecca H. Holman and Michael R. Solomon (eds.), Provo, UT: Association for Consumer Research, 1991, pp. 426-27
  • Hollander, S. C., "Who and What are Important in Retailing and Marketing History: A Basis for Discussion", in S.C. Hollander and R. Savitt (eds.) First North American Workshop on Historical Research in Marketing, Lansing, MI: Michigan State University, 1983, pp. 35-40.
  • Jones, F., "Retail Stores in the United States, 1800-1860", Journal of Marketing, October 1936, pp. 135-40
  • Krafft, Manfred; Mantrala, Murali K., eds. (2006). Retailing in the 21st Century: Current and Future Trends. New York: Springer Verlag. ISBN 3-540-28399-4. 
  • Kowinski, W. S., The Malling of America: An Inside Look at the Great Consumer Paradise, New York, William Morrow, 1985
  • Furnee, J. H., and Lesger, C. (eds), The Landscape of Consumption: Shopping Streets and Cultures in Western Europe, 1600-1900, Springer, 2014
  • MacKeith, M., The History and Conservation of Shopping Arcades, Mansell Publishing, 1986
  • Nystrom, P. H., "Retailing in Retrospect and Prospect", in H.G. Wales (ed.) Changing Perspectives in Marketing, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 19951, pp. 117-38.
  • Stobard, J., Sugar and Spice: Grocers and Groceries in Provincial England, 1650-1830, Oxford University Press, 2016

External links

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