What Is a General Merchandise Retailer? 

If you’re like me, you probably hate driving to multiple stores to pick up household necessities. Instead, I do my best to shop at retailers that offer every item on my shopping list at one location. Stores like Target and Walmart never let me down and always have exactly what I am looking for at a lower price. These stores are known as general merchandise retailers, and they specialize in stocking up on an array of items to offer customers extensive options with incredible deals. 

What is a General Merchandise Retailer?

Typically, retailers fall into either food and grocery sales or general merchandising. Selling anything from sandals to bed frames, a general merchandise retail offers a large store in which a massive variety of non-food products are sold. The general merchandise retailer definition is any person or entity regardless of the form of organization that has continuously offered for sale or lease more than 100 different types of goods or services to the public.” 

The selling of general merchandise can be split into the categories of general merchandise retailers and general merchandise wholesalers. General merchandise retailers are the standard classification of most department and big box stores. These stores generally specialize in providing consumers with an array of varying merchandise. Despite recently beginning to promote grocery products at their stores, Target is an example of a General Merchandise Retailer. 

Alternatively, general merchandise wholesalers represent the more entrepreneurial side of general merchandise retail. These wholesalers persuade stores to carry and sell bulk items such as cheap gizmos and gadgets. 

What is a Discount Store?

A discount store is a branch of general merchandising retail that offers a vast selection of products at discounted prices. Unlike department stores that adopt higher prices for goods, discount stores slash the prices of items by carrying last season or lower quality versions of products in large quantities. 

Walmart, Big Lots, and T.J. Maxx are famous examples of discount stores. 

Types of Discount Stores

Discount stores come in many different forms. Each version of these low-priced retailers offers something different for customers trying to shop on a budget. Some of these discount store types are: 


Unlike traditional general merchandise retailers and discount stores, superstores house non-food items such as clothes and toys while also containing grocery departments. Walmart and Target’s combination of general merchandise and groceries make them excellent examples of superstores. 

Category Killers

Category killers are chain stores that offer a large, low-price selection of a specific product category. These stores tend to outcompete smaller, more specialized stores that offer similar products at higher prices. Recently, category killers have been going out of business due to online shopping’s skyrocketing popularity. The same merchandise once found in stores like Toys R Us can now be found on online retailers for even cheaper, making many category killers obsolete.

Variety and Dollar Stores 

As probably the most well-known category of discount stores, variety and dollar stores offer an extensive array of products at extremely low prices. These price points can range from five dollars at stores like Five Below to just one dollar at retailers such as Dollar General. 

Warehouse Clubs

Famously known for requiring a membership, warehouse clubs offer a near-endless selection and enormous savings for subscribing members. One of the most well-known examples of a warehouse club is Costco. Warehouse clubs operate like giant superstores by providing bulk amounts of food and non-food products. These discount stores are the perfect place to stock up on pantry favorites and home essentials without breaking the bank!

Discount Grocery Stores

With the rising cost of food, many shoppers are hunting for deals to lower their weekly grocery bills. This demand for cheaper food has  HYPERLINK “https://www.moneycrashers.com/discount-grocery-stores/” led to the rise of discount grocery stores. Famous examples of discount grocery stores include Aldi and Lidl. Although they may not have the same enormous food selection that discount superstores such as Walmart and Target offer, discount grocery stores manage to drop prices even lower. To do so, these stores typically offer a limited food selection of uncertain quality. 

What Are the Disadvantages of General Merchandise Retail?

With a large variety of products and low prices, it seems as though general merchandise retail is the model to follow when creating a store. However, while general merchandise stores are popular, knowing the risks this form of retail poses before jumping in is crucial. 

The biggest problems faced by new general merchandise stores are initial set-up costs and finding management. Due to the nature of these stores, a lot of money must be spent on keeping them stocked. Without a large amount of money, it would be impossible to get the store stocked and running. Additionally, due to the size of a general merchandise retailer, stores must employ an efficient management system to ensure everything runs smoothly. 

Don’t let these common issues get you worried because these risks should be minimal with good planning! 

What Are the Benefits of General Merchandise Retail? 

General merchandise retail is a highly profitable business that generates huge sales when done correctly. 

The most significant benefit of general merchandise retail is the vast array of stock in one store. Due to the fact that so many different items are kept in one place, shoppers can find everything they need in one trip, practically guaranteeing a sale. 

Not only is general merchandising beneficial to the business owner, but it also helps customers acquire higher quantities of items at lower costs. As a result, shoppers are able to stock up on everything they need at a lower price than buying the items individually. 

By offering a large variety of stock at low prices, general merchandise retailers can drive up their sales while putting reasonably priced products in the hands of consumers!

Other Key Terms:

  • What items are general merchandise
  • General merchandise retailer examples
  • What is general merchandise at Walmart
  • General merchandise company
  • General merchandise stores near me
  • General merchandise synonym
  • General merchandiser
  • General merchandise job description