Of French origin, the word "retail" refers to "sale in small quantities." Retail stores are business establishments that sell goods and merchandise to consumers or other businesses.

Business Aspect

A retailer purchases the goods in large quantities from manufacturers at wholesale prices and then sells the merchandise to consumers at higher unit or retail prices.


A franchiser grants an individual or group the right or license to distribute and market its products and trademarks for a certain percentage of the sales.


Retail stores include, but are not limited to, boutiques, department stores, emporiums, markets, outlets and discount houses. In addition, they can be located in residential neighborhoods, shopping streets or strip malls.

Second Hand Retail Stores

Nonprofit stores like the Salvation Army and Goodwill sell second-hand goods, such as clothing, furniture and kitchenware, donated from the public. A person can also sell items in consignment shops, in which the shop owner keeps a percentage of the sale.

Online Retailing

Products or goods are purchased over the Internet through online shops, as opposed to physical retail stores. Payments are usually made with credit cards and the goods are shipped to purchasers.