Retailing Selling Goods

Retailing Selling Goods

Retailing, selling goods in a state ready for final consumption or use to private consumers, usually in shops or stores but also from kiosks, market stalls and by door-to-door trading. Trades involving more than distribution, such as catering in caf's and restaurants, hair dressing, shoe repairing and car repairing, are often considered to be separate from retailing. Apart from such trades, there were in the early 2000's about half a million retail establishments in Great Britain or roughly one for every 100 inhabitants. (In West Germany there was one for every 8, in France one for every 55, in the U.S.A. one for every 150). Two and a half million people in Britain, 55 per cent of them women or girls, were engaged in retailing, about 10 per cent of the total labour force. The proportion engaged in retailing in most western countries in Europe, America and Australasia has increased throughout this century as growth in output per head in production has outstripped that in retailing, new goods have been introduced and advanced stages of urbanization been reached.

In Britain over two-fifths of all retail sales are made by large-scale retailers. In the early 2010's multiple traders owning ten or more shops accounted for more than a fifth of total turnover: one-half these sales were of food. Multiples were also important in footwear, men's and boys' clothing, pharmaceuticals, furniture, radio and television, and household appliances. They first grew to importance at the end of the nineteenth century, but they have been expanding more rapidly than other types of retailer since the Second World War. They gain economies of scale in purchasing, stock-turnover and skilled merchandising, and they have been quick to exploit new methods such as hire-purchase, self-service and mixed merchandising in supermarkets. Retail co-operative societies accounted for over one-tenth of total sales. They numbered about 1,000 with a total membership of 125 million but included many small societies: economists consider that amalgamation and more ready acceptance of modem retailing methods might increase the cooperative societies' share of total sales. Department stores held about 5 per cent of the total trade, but faced difficulties with the increasing congestion of large cities. Variety chain stores also accounted for 5 per cent of total turnover. Since the Second World War they have increased the sales area of their stores, abandoned their concentration on low-priced lines, bought from independent producers to their own specification and adopted 'house' brands. A recent development has been the expansion of mail order houses offering the convenience of shopping at home, including a widening range of goods in their catalogues, organizing credit clubs, and building up sales to 2-3 per cent of the total. In these ways retailers have reduced the dominance by manufacturers of consumer goods markets.

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