The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Merchants function as professional traders, dealing in commodities that they do not produce themselves.

Merchants can be categorised into two types:

  1. A wholesale merchant operates in the chain between producer and retail merchant. Some wholesale merchants only organise the movement of goods rather than move the goods themselves.
  2. A retail merchant sells commodities to consumers (including businesses), commonly known as retailers. A shopowner is a retail merchant.

A merchant class characterises many pre-modern societies. Its status can range from high (even achieving titles like that of merchant prince or nabob) to low (note the soiling capabilities of "mere" trade).

Under the common law and the Uniform Commercial Code in the United States, merchants are held to a higher standard in the selling of products than those who are not engaged in the sale of goods as a profession. For example, when a merchant sells something, he or she is deemed to give an implied warranty of merchantability, guaranteeing that the product is fit to be sold, even if there is nothing in writing to this effect.

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