What Is the Meaning of Retail Trade?

by Paul Cartmell ; Updated September 26, 2017

The OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms reports the retail trade is the resale of new and used goods to the general public. Businesses involved in the retail trade generally sell goods for personal and household use.


The retail trade is a part of the larger wholesale and retail industry, according to the Small Business Notes website. Unlike the wholesale portion of the industry, the retail trade is generally engaged in the sale of goods to the general public and not to other businesses.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the retail trade has two types: store and non-store retail outlets. Store-based retail outlets use a fixed location to sell goods and post sale services, such as installation. Non-store retail businesses use other forms of sales techniques including online catalogs, portable stalls and infomercials.

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the retail trade is usually the final step in the production and distribution of goods. The retail trade usually sells small amounts of a product to individuals.

About the Author

Paul Cartmell began his career as a writer for documentaries and fictional films in the United Kingdom in the mid-1990s. Working in documentary journalism, Cartmell wrote about a wide variety of subjects including racism in professional sports. Cartmell attended the University of Lincoln and London Metropolitan University, gaining degrees in journalism and film studies.

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