Retail Terms: Must Read

Retail chainA firm that consists of multiple retail units under common ownership and usually has some centralization of decision making in defining and implementing its strategy.
Services retailerOrganization that offers consumers’ services rather than merchandise. Examples include banks, hospital, health spas, doctors, legal clinics, entertainment firms, and universities.
SKU (stock keeping unit)The smallest unit available for keeping inventory control. In soft goods merchandise, an SKU usually means size, color, and style.


specialty catalog retailerA non store retailer that focuses on specific categories of merchandise, such as fruit (Harry and David), gardening tools (Smith & Hawken), and seeds and plants (Burpee). [Go to their website and understand how they operate]
Specialty storeStore concentrating on a limited number of complementary merchandise categories and providing a high level of service in an area typically under 8,000 square feet.
Super-centerLarge store (150,000 to 200,000 square feet) combining a discount store with a supermarket.
SuperstoreA large supermarket between 20,000 and 50,000 square feet in size.
Television home shopping / Tele-shoppingA retail format in which customers watch a TV program demonstrating merchandise and then place orders for the merchandise by phone.
Value retailersGeneral merchandise discount stores that are found in either low-income urban or rural areas and are much smaller than traditional discount stores, less than 9,000 square feet.
varietyThe number of different merchandises categories within a store or department.
vending machine retailingA nonstore format in which merchandise or services are stored in a machine and dispensed to customers when they deposit cash or use a credit card.
warehouse clubA retailer that offers a limited assortment of food and general merchandise with little service and low prices to ultimate consumers and small businesses.
Disinter-mediationwhen a manufacturer sells directly to consumers, thus competing directly with its retailers.
Electronic agentComputer program that locates and selects alternatives based on some predetermined characteristics.
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