Retail trade is carried on both at small scale and large scale. Small scale retailers are either mobile traders (itinerants) or fixed shops. Mobile Traders or Itinerants These retailers have no fixed place of business. They move from place to place and sell articles of daily use near to consumers. These include the following:
1. Hawkers: A hawker moves about in residential localities. He carries his goods in a hand cart or bicycle. He deals in low-priced goods of daily use. E.g. combs, toys, soaps, mirrors, bangles, vegetables, fruits, ice-cream, etc.
2. Peddlers: A peddler also moves from house to house and sells articles of daily use. But he carries his wares on his head or on the back of a mule.
3. Cheap Jacks: A cheap jack hires a small shop in a residential locality for a temporary period. He shifts his business from one locality to another depending on the availability of customers. He deals in low-priced household articles.
4. Pavement dealers or Street Traders: A pavement dealer displays his wares on footpath and outside public places such as railway station, bus stand, cinema, temple, etc. He sells low priced articles like newspapers, magazines, fruits, vegetables, footwear to the passersby. He is also called street trader.
5. Market Traders: A market trader sells goods at weekly markets when the shops are closed for weekly holiday. He displays goods outside the closed shops. He deals in lowpriced articles of daily use. He may also set up stalls on fairs and exhibitions. Fixed Shops (Small Scale Retail Shops) Small scale retail shops are the most popular form of retail trade.
These may be classified as follows:
1. Street stalls holders: These stalls are located in the main streets or street crossings. A stall is an improvised structure made of tin or wood. The street stall holder displays his goods on a temporary platform and sells toys, stationery, hosiery items, etc. at low prices.
2. Second hand goods shops: These shops sell used or second hand articles such as books, clothes, furniture, etc. They cater to the needs of poor people who cannot afford new articles. These shops collect goods at private and public auctions.
3. General stores: These stores sell a wide variety of products under one roof. .For example, a provision store deals in grocery, bread, butter, toothpaste, razor blades, bathing soap, washing powder, soft drinks, confectionery, cosmetics, etc. Consumers can buy most of their daily requirements at one place. Their time and effort is saved. Some of these stores offer free home delivery and monthly credit facilities to regular customers.
4. Single line stores: These stores deal in one line of goods. They keep stock of different size, design and quality of goods in the same line. Book stores, chemist shops, electrical stores, shoe stores, cloth stores, jeweler shops, etc., are examples of single line stores.
5. Specialty shops: These shops generally specialise in one type of product rather than dealing in a line of products. Shops selling children’s garments, educational books, etc., are examples of such shops.