Retail is the sale of goods and services from individuals or businesses to the end-user. Retailers are part of an integrated system called the supply chain. A retailer purchases goods or products in large quantities from manufacturers directly or through a wholesale, and then sells smaller quantities to the consumer for a profit. Retailing can be done in either fixed locations like stores or markets, door-to-door or by delivery. Retailing includes subordinated services, such as delivery. The term "retailer" is also applied where a service provider services the needs of a large number of individuals, such as for the public. Shops may be on residential streets, streets with few or no houses or in a shopping mall. Shopping streets may be for pedestrians only. Sometimes a shopping street has a partial or full roof to protect customers from precipitation. Online retailing, a type of electronic commerce used for business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions and mail order, are forms of non-shop retailing.
Shopping generally refers to the act of buying products. Sometimes this is done to obtain necessities such as food and clothing; sometimes it is done as a recreational activity. Recreational shopping often involves window shopping (just looking, not buying) and browsing and does not always result in a purchase.
Retail comes from the Old French word tailler, which means "to cut off, clip, pare, divide" in terms of tailoring (1365). It was first recorded as a noun with the meaning of a "sale in small quantities" in 1433 (from the Middle French retail, "piece cut off, shred, scrap, paring"). Like in French, the word retail in both Dutch and German also refers to the sale of small quantities of items.
A marketplace is a location where goods and services are exchanged. The traditional market square is a city square where traders set up stalls and buyers browse the stores. This kind of market is very old, and countless such markets are still in operation around the whole world.
In some parts of the world, the retail business is still dominated by small family-run stores, but this market is increasingly being taken over by large retail chains.