STOREcommonly a shop or other establishment for the retail sale of commodities, but also a place where wholesale supplies are kept, exhibited, or sold. Retailing—the sale of merchandise to the consumer—is one of the oldest businesses in the world and was practiced in prehistoric times.

Total retail sales, including motor vehicles but excluding e-commerce and catalog sales, topped $4.5 trillion in the United States in 2018. Currently, there are more than 1 million retail establishments employing some 29 million people. Most are small; about 60% have fewer than 10 employees. Larger stores, with over $500,000 in annual sales, account for more than two thirds of all retail sales. The 50 largest retailers account for more than a third of all sales, and stores with 100 or more branches account for 97% of all department store sales, 70% of all drugstore sales, 71% of all shoe sales, and 76% of all grocery store sales. STORE

The Development of Retail Stores-STORE

The earliest form of retail merchandising was probably the exchange of food and weapons; later came traders and peddlers, and by 3000 B.C. shops had become common. During the Greek and Roman period, stores, including many specialty shops, developed in the form of open booths, attracting large cosmopolitan crowds. After the decline of the Roman Empire, barter became more important, but by the 14th cent. retail trade again assumed importance. Merchants, who in early times were viewed with suspicion, rose in the social scale. Small stores, each carrying its special line of goods, reached their peak in the 18th cent. The wholesale business developed, and traveling salesmen and standard prices came into general use.

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