· for products of a technical nature, they offer after-sale services.
Types of Retail Outlets
Retailing covers all the activities which supply goods directly to the general public.Apart from retail shops, therefore, it includes public houses,petrol stations,street markets, door-to-door selling and so on. In this section, we shall deal only with main types of retail shops and mail-order houses.
1. Independent retailers
Independent retailers are usually sole traders or “one- shop” firms.There are far more independent retailers than any other form of retail outlet. Figure 10.3 shows that their share of the retail trade has been steadily declining. They remain a very important part of the retail trade.
Because there are so many of them, independent retailers offer the public the great convenience of heaving the shop within easy reach of home. They often remain open for longer hours than other types of retail shops and usually offers a personal service which is sometimes lacking in larger stores.
2. Multiple choice
These are shops which belong to chains of very similar shops that are owned by large companies.Each of the organizations has its own particular style of shop front and interior layout. They are easily identifiable in the centres of the larger town. Some of them, such as Burton, Dixons, Halfords and W.H. Smith, tend to specialize in a particular range of goods. Others, such as Mark and Spencers, Woolworths, Boots and Littlewoods, deal in a much wider range of products.
Figure 10.3. demonstrates the success of the multiples in capturing a growing share of the total retail market.This success is based largely on the ability of large firms to achieve economies of scale. Organisations which own multiple shops usually have the following features:
· they buy in large quantities and obtain their supplies at lower prices;
· they carry out their own wholesaling;
· they employ specialist buyers and marketing experts;
· they market their own brands;
· they advertise extensively ( Mark and Spencer is an exception);
· They exercise close control over the shops from “ head office”
3. Voluntary groups
Severe competition from the multiples and supermarkets forced independent wholesalers and retailers to form voluntary associations such as Mace,Spar and VG. The shops belonging to one of these groups all trade under the some name, but each shop remains independently owned and controlled.To quality for membership of such a group, a shop usually has to be of a certain minimum size.
These groops are usually organised by wholesalers, and they make it possible for independents to obtain some of the economies of scale enjoyed by larger firms. Retailers undertake to obtain supplies from the group wholesalers, who can than place large orders with producers and obtain important discounts. These discounts can be passed on to the retailers in the form of lower prices. Voluntary groups market many of their own brands.
Voluntary groups offer advice and assistance to retailers on matters relation to the managerment and organization of their shops. They are most common in the grocery trade, but similar organizations exist for chemists and for the newspapers, tobacco and confectionary trade.
4. Department stores
Most large towns have one or more department stores. In effect, a department store consists of several specialist shops under one roof. Harrods, Selfridges, Lewis’s and Debenhams are well-known department stores.
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