The Different Types of Retail Businesses

Retail is the selling of goods or services directly to the consumer, typically at a brick-and-mortar store, online, through direct sales or through postal services. It is the largest sector of business in the United States and involves a wide variety of businesses.

Department stores

The oldest and largest place to shop for a large variety of products under one roof, department stores are often located in major cities. They sell everything from clothing and shoes to beauty and jewelry items.


Supermarkets are large marketplaces that stock a wide variety of products, mostly focused on food and household objects. These stores are usually chain companies with brick-and-mortar locations throughout the country and sometimes even around the world.

Specialty retailers

Specialty retailers specialize in a particular product category or type. This can include everything from women’s clothes to home accessories, children’s toys and sports equipment.

Warehouse-type facilities

These retailers sell products that are not typically available in other stores and are packaged in large quantities, usually at prices below retail price. Examples of these types of stores include Sam’s Club and Costco.

Independent Retailer

An independent retail business is a small company that is owned and operated by a single person. The person who owns the business can be the owner, an employee or a combination of the two.

Existing Retail Business

An existing retail business is a small company that has been in existence for years and is run by someone who owns it and operates it. This type of business requires less initial investment and is easier to manage than a startup.

The retailer purchases the goods in small quantities from manufacturers or wholesalers and then resells them at a profit. They are the last point in the supply chain and can take deductions on shipping and storage expenses.

They have to attract consumers through displays, promotions and other marketing efforts to make sales. They also have to keep inventory and order merchandise from suppliers as needed.

Depending on the type of business, a retailer may require a number of different licenses and permits. These can vary by country and by jurisdiction, so it is important to consult your local city clerk’s website for specific requirements.

In most countries, a retailer must pay sales taxes on their income. However, this tax may vary based on the location of the business and its sales.

Retailers must also pay other fees such as insurance, licensing and payroll tax. These can be complicated and may vary by country and by jurisdiction, so it’s best to check with your local tax authorities before launching a business.

Depending on the type of business, retailing can be a rewarding and lucrative industry to start and operate. The key is to know what you’re getting into and how it will help you meet your profit goals. There are many factors to consider, including product assortment, marketing and customer service, and determining which channels will be the most effective for your business.