The retail sector is responsible for the sale of food and non-food items, for personal or household consumption, which require little or no additional step in the food value chain. Sometimes food stores have in-store bakeries, delicatessens, and meat packaging facilities and provide wide selections of ready-made food, not only for the end consumer but also for other shops, department stores, kiosks, hotels, and restaurants.
Food retailing accounts for approximately 40% of all retail sales worldwide but, with time, most traditional food retailers1 expand their businesses to include non-food retailing. This handbook focuses predominantly on food retailing and does not attempt to cover other major retail product categories, such as: home furniture and related household goods (about 10% of all sales); clothing and footwear (8–9%); leisure goods, health, and beauty products (approximately 7% each); or other non-food products. However, since the distinction between food and non-food retailing is becoming increasingly unclear due to the the information provided in this report applies to the entire retail trade sector unless the food retail sector is explicitly mentioned.
In contrast with the retail sector, wholesalers purchase large quantities of goods for further sale to processors or retailers and not to end consumers. Wholesale trade usually involves/requires the issuing of commercial invoices. In the formal retail sector, cash receipts issued at the counter are the only wholesale trade in their legislation. To protect traditional small retailers from the increased competition arising from modern retail networks, some countries have also established strict regulations regarding retail store locations, opening hours, the maximum number of working days per year (including during weekends), and other constraints. In countries with a mature retail sector, competition in a given area may be regulated by anti-trust or similar legislation.