The current retail trade is characterized by an increasing number of large-scale retailers being set up in the traditional market made up largely of small-scale retailers. The wholesale trade, threatened as such by these developments, has had to undergo certain changes in recent years in order to survive. Today the wholesale trade is characterized not only by the independent wholesaler, but by the cash and carry wholesaler as well as the voluntary chain.
Groups of independent retailers or shopkeepers who join with wholesalers to gain the benefits of bulk buying. When ordering goods, all the members put their orders together through the wholesaler who is also a member. The wholesaler is then able to obtain goods in bulk direct from the producer at a discount.
It helps small-scale retailers to combat the competition from Large – scale retailers e.g. supermarkets. They are able to offer goods at competitive prices, give special offers and attract more customers.
Voluntary chains are found mostly in the grocery trade e.g. SPAR, Square Deal, Wavy Line
They are normally organised via the wholesaler. The group will undertake national advertising on behalf of the group. It may provide finance and shopfitting for retail members who have to keep their shops to a certain standard. Goods are delivered direct to the retailer. Advice on pricing, display and stock may be given.
- They do not allow credit facilities.
- They do not provide delivery services.
- They sometimes sell even to the general public.
- They sell mostly low-priced goods, which sell quickly.