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Retail trade

The provision of goods and services directly to the consumer. Retailers obtain goods from either wholesalers or, directly, from a manufacturer. They are essentially ‘middlemen’ who provide the link between supply and demand, and obtain their income from the margin between the price at which they buy and that at which they sell. Although certain organizations, e.g. cash and carry warehouses, attempt to bypass them, the retailers’ strength lies in after-sales service and advice, which those other concerns are frequently not prepared to give, and for this reason they are perhaps most important in the service industries themselves.

Reference: The Penguin Business Dictionary , 3rd edt.