Retail is the process boutique school uniforms selling consumer goods or services to customers through multiple channels of distribution to earn a profit. Retail markets and shops have a very ancient history, dating back to antiquity. Over the centuries, retail shops were transformed from little more than “rude booths” to the sophisticated shopping malls of the modern era. Some of the earliest retailers were itinerant peddlers.
Shopping streets may restrict traffic to pedestrians only. As in the French, the word, retail, in both Dutch and German, also refers to the sale of small quantities of items. Retail refers to the activity of reselling. A retailer is any person or organisation is a reseller who sells goods or services directly to consumers or end-users. Some retailers may sell to business customers, and such sales are termed non-retail activity. In some jurisdictions or regions, legal definitions of retail specify that at least 80 percent of sales activity must be to end-users. Retailing often occurs in retail stores or service establishments, but may also occur through direct selling such as through vending machines, door-to-door sales or electronic channels.
Although the idea of retail is often associated with the purchase of goods, the term may be applied to service-providers that sell to consumers. Some retailers badge their stores as “wholesale outlets” offering “wholesale prices. While this practice may encourage consumers to imagine that they have access to lower prices, while being prepared to trade-off reduced prices for cramped in-store environments, in a strict legal sense, a store that sells the majority of its merchandise direct to consumers, is defined as a retailer rather than a wholesaler. Retail markets have existed since ancient times.
Archaeological evidence for trade, probably involving barter systems, dates back more than 10,000 years. As civilizations grew, barter was replaced with retail trade involving coinage. The Phoenicians, noted for their seafaring skills, plied their ships across the Mediterranean, becoming a major trading power by the 9th century BCE. The Phoenicians imported and exported wood, textiles, glass and produce such as wine, oil, dried fruit and nuts. In the Graeco-Roman world, the market primarily served the local peasantry. Local producers, who were generally poor, would sell small surpluses from their individual farming activities, purchase minor farm equipment and also buy a few luxuries for their homes. Major producers such as the great estates were sufficiently attractive for merchants to call directly at their farm-gates, obviating the producers’ need to attend local markets.