A retail outlet may refer to one of two things. The first is a store that simply sells merchandise directly to the consumer; the merchandise is generally purchased by the store from a wholesaler, or it may be manufactured by the company that owns the store. The second type of retail outlet is a store that is opened by the manufacturer, often near the factory, for the purposes of selling over-produced or irregular merchandise at discount prices.
Within the first category of retail establishments, some retail outlets are large stores with a wide variety of merchandise, while others are small specialty boutiques. They are generally in a fixed location, such as inside a shopping mall or in an independent storefront on the street. A kiosk is also a type of small retail outlet. Retail outlets also often have online stores as well.
Retail outlets generally sell goods in unlimited quantities to consumers, unless a store is offering a particularly deep discount. Then the owner may limit quantities to avoid someone purchasing all of the items to sell at their own retail outlet, or eliminating all the inventory for the other customers who may visit. Almost anyone can open a retail outlet with an investment; though it may not be necessary to have a business education, it might be a good idea.
Anyone who owns or manages a retail outlet will need to be able to maintain stock levels, take inventory, advertise and market their business, and provide customer service, among other duties; some might also need to hire additional employees to help run the store. Stores typically set their own prices by marking up slightly the price at which items were sold to them from the manufacturer. Some stores choose to offer discounts to particular groups of shoppers, such as students or the elderly, or some might produce their own coupons or sale fliers to encourage shoppers to visit the location.
Retail outlets that offer discounted or irregular merchandise from the factory are generally much simpler, and often do not require much advertising or even merchandise presentation. These types of discount outlets are especially popular for designer stores, as people may be able to find slightly irregular or outdated designer items for a fraction of the initial price; often, it is difficult or impossible to tell that there was a mistake made in the manufacturing at all, though the customer should always examine the merchandise carefully before purchasing. This type of retail outlet is virtually never opened independently, but usually at the discretion of the manufacturer.