This industry classification includes establishments primarily engaged in the retail sale of a general line of apparel, dry goods, hardware, housewares or home furnishings, groceries, and other lines of limited amounts. Stores selling commodities covered in the definition for department stores, but normally having less than 50 employees, and stores usually known as country general stores are also included in this industry. Establishments primarily engaged in the retail sale of merchandise by television, catalog, and mail-order are classified in SIC 5961: Catalog and Mail-Order Houses.
Warehouse Clubs and Superstores
All Other General Merchandise Stores
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, estimated annual retail sales in this industry (excluding food services) topped $3.7 trillion dollars in 2005—an increase of 7 percent from the previous year. Of this total, combined sales of miscellaneous general merchandise stores and warehouse club stores accounted for approximately $311.1 billion.
The miscellaneous general merchandise stores industry is subdivided into seven groups: miscellaneous general merchandise stores, which have accounted for less than 1 percent of the category's sales in recent years; county general stores (3%); surplus and salvage stores (about 2%); army and navy goods stores (12%); and warehouse club stores (82%). Catalog showroom stores and duty free stores each accounted for less than 1 percent of total sales in this sector.
Although miscellaneous general merchandise stores outnumber warehouse club stores like Sam's Club, warehouse club stores sales totaled $270.7 billion in 2005, compared to $40.3 billion for miscellaneous general merchandise stores. States with the highest number of establishments were Texas (1,640), California (1,232), Florida (897), and New York (604).
In the United States there were 34,775 stores that comprised the general merchandise segment of the retail sector in 2004. They employed more than 1.2 million people and had an annual payroll of $22.5 billion. While warehouse clubs and superstores made up about 9.4 percent of this category, they were responsible for nearly 85 percent of the sales. Costco and Sam's Club are the leaders within the warehouse clubs and superstores segment. They give consumers an opportunity to purchase items at a discount and in bulk. They are typically housed in warehouses and are about 60,000...