Retail and Wholesale Trade Services in Canada

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The retail and wholesale trade sector coordinates the complex task of transferring goods from countless domestic and foreign factories to the shelves of Canadian consumers. Besides distributing goods, retailers and wholesalers perform such economic functions as predicting the present and future demands of consumers for manufacturers, and selecting innovative product lines and product mixes for customers. Retail success requires products to be displayed and services provided in ways that reduce the search costs of consumers through less time and information intensive methods of shopping. An increasing amount of competition has been channeled into developing distinctive retail reputations for value and quality and this produces experimentation in the design of physical and organizational structures that provide increasingly reliable service in secure and pleasing environments.

This study describes the characteristics of the employees and the jobs in this sector, the organizational players and the policy environment in which they interact. It focuses on innovation in organizational structure, a process that has led to the development of such increasingly familiar features of the shopping environment as the franchise organization and the mega-mall.

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