Retail trade in the district is almost invariably carried out by a number of retail shops operating in the rural areas as well as in urban areas. Their number and concentration mainly depend upon the density of population, locating of the area and the demand for goods kept for sale. Retail shops form a link between the consumer and the wholesaler. The ordinary consumer has preference for the retail trade. His choice mainly depends upon the varieties provided by the retail traders if we take into consideration the needs and choices of the ordinary consumers. The wholesalers are concentrated in various peths or wards of towns like Chandrapur, Gadhchiroli, Sironcha, Rajura; whereas the retailers are distributed throughout the district in small as well as big places. Their stock of the merchandise is very limited due to the small capital investment in the trade but taken together the turnover of goods and the replacement by new commodities are always carried out on a large scale. The retail traders mostly purchase the required goods from the wholesalers or from nearby market places or towns. Very few of them have direct link with the outside wholesaler. The perishable goods are brought from the nearest area. But goods like cloth, ready-made clothes, medicines and medical appliances and stationery are brought from distant places which have acquired a special name for their production like Chandrapur, Nagbhir, Brahmapuri and Warora.

Dispersion of shops.-In all the important and major towns of the district the retail shops have been well distributed. In rural as well as in urban areas the retail shops reveal a keen competition both amongst themselves and with the regulated markets and fair price shops. The retail shops dealing with grocery, pan and bidi, cloth, hosiery and ready-made clothes, coal and wood and vegetables are found in almost all localities of the district. The vegetables and fruits shops are mainly located in the urban areas. Shops selling stationery, books, general merchandise, fruits, sweetmeat and eatables are not well dispersed, because the demand for their commodities is infrequent. Shops dealing in metal utensils, hardware, building material and other domestic goods have their own particular locality where they are concentrated. The concentration of shops selling mutton, fish and eggs is mainly due to the municipal regulations and food taboos observed in certain commodities.

Grocery group constitutes the backbone of retail trade. Shops dealing in groceries stock all sorts of cereals and pulses, gur, sugar, edible and non-edible oils, ghee, spices and condiments, tea, coffee, matches and other items of the grocery. The amount of capital invested in these shops depends upon the value of stock of merchandise of the individual shopkeeper and varies from about Rs. 500 to Rs. 30,000. There are many small shops with an investment from Rs. 500 to Rs. 5,000 only. Commodities for sale in these shops come from the wholesale centres and bigger regulated market places of the district viz., Chandrapur, Sironcha, Gadhchiroli, Rajura, Brahmapuri, Nagbhir and Warora. Sometimes during the festive seasons like Diwali the commodities are purchased from outside the district. The average annual turnover of these shops ranges approximately from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5,000. The sales show a decline in the rainy season but during the dry season and especially during festivals and marriage season the sale reaches its highest compensating for the drop in the monsoon season. The capital requirements of the big shops are considerable. The shop-keepers mostly purchase the merchandise on their personal credit. In some cases they approach banks for loans. The small shopkeepers sometimes borrow the required capital either from their friends or from relatives on their personal credit. These shops engage one to three servants, for handling, weighing and wrapping of the goods and commodities. In some of the big shops the shopkeepers employ clerks or accountants for maintaining account books.

Hardware and building material shops are very important for purposes of construction. They are spread over in all towns and bigger villages of the district, and are usually concentrated in particular localities. The wholesalers or bigger shop-keepers usually purchase the required material direct from the manufacturers or companies as it is profitable and convenient for them. The small shop-keepers purchase the material either from the bigger shops in the towns or direct from the wholesalers. The articles for the sale include iron and steel bars, nails, screws; metal sheets, wires, wooden pillars and other important articles required for work of construction.

Due to the prevalence of the system of indigenous medicines there were no medical shops till very recently in the district. With the spread of education and growing consciousness about health quite a few medicine shops have come up in the district.

They comprise chemists, druggists and dispensers. These shops are located at the tahsil places and nearby bigger villages. There are very few big or wholesale traders in the district. Most of the rural people are not well familiar with the modern medical facilities. The Adivasi people still cherish old superstitious beliefs. They prefer to use herbal medicines. The hospitals, dispensaries and chemists are new to their culture. In urban areas these shop-keepers sell different types of allopathic, homoeopathic, and ayurvedic drugs and other indigenous medicines. Most of the drugs are Indian made. Those manufactured in India are brought mainly from Bombay, Poona and Bangalore.

At Bhandak there were three medical shops of which one was Ayurvedic. These shops brought their stocks mainly from Nagpur and Bombay. Of Ayurvedic medicines 25 per cent come from Panvel, 20 per cent from Ahmadnagar, 20 to 25 per cent from Bombay and 30 per cent from Khandesh. Asawa, Bhasma, Uti, Kadha come mainly from Panvel and Ahmadnagar; Balant kadha, Sanjeevani and Guti from Bombay, and Bhasma, Kadha etc. from Khandesh. The yearly turnover of a small shop was worth over Rs. 8,000, and the margin of profit was from 12 to 15 per cent. The monthly sale of the largest shop was well over Rs. 30,000. Generally the business of the medicine shops is steady throughout the year.

The demand for medicines comes from local people. The representatives of various pharmaceutical firms and companies regularly visit the chemists and doctors, register their demand and send the products. The latter are sold at commission to the shops.

In Brahmapuri, there were three medical stores with a total turnover of Rs. 38,000. They sold products of Glaxo, Parke-Davis, Lederle, and other prominent pharmaceutical firms.

In Warora, the turnover of medical shops per annum was found to be over Rs. 70,000 to 80,000. There were 3 medical stores. The sale of allopathic medicines was considerably higher than that of ayurvedic medicines. Most of the shops are located on the main road.

Next to the grocery shops, the cloth shops are very important because of their wide distribution and their utility to the consumers. Most of these shops are owned by the traditional merchant communities like Marwaris etc., either on proprietary or partnership basis. These shops are dispersed in towns and bigger villages of the district. Almost all the bigger shops stock and sell all kinds of textile, cotton, woollen and silk viz., coatings, shirtings, sarees, dhotis, chaddars, towels, etc. In rural areas the small sellers keep dhotis, pagadis (turbans), sarees, chaddars, blouse pieces and other cotton clothes. Most of the shops have been located at tahsil places. In a few of the bigger shops salesmen or paid servants are engaged for measuring and cutting cloth and for packing and handing over the material to the customers. In small shops the owner performs these odd jobs. The capital invested in these shops varies from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 50,000. At the time of festivals (like Divali) and fairs and in marriage season the sale is high and for additional capital requirement on such occasions the shop-keepers usually approach the banks for loans. In the monsoon season the sale is limited. Cloth is brought from Bombay, Nagpur, Sholapur and Ahmedabad.

Wood and fuel shops mainly deal in firewood and charcoal. The district abounds in extensive forest area. Chandrapur teak is famous for its quality and is bought all over Maharashtra. Most of this teak is brought at Nagpur where a number of saw-mills are located. Timber is cut in blocks of suitable sizes and then exported to different areas. This trade, both retail and wholesale, is carried out profitably in almost all the major towns of the district. Most of the timber is exported to the neighbouring districts as well as throughout the country and also abroad.

The shops coming in this group are mainly concerned with he sale of stationery articles, bangles, hosiery, pencils, ink, nibs, fountain pens, cutlery and provision. Almost all these goods are brought from Nagpur or Bombay. Small shop-keepers make their purchases mostly from Chandrapur town.

The shops do brisk business when schools and colleges reopen for the academic year after the summer vacation. The shops are mainly concentrated in Chandrapur tahsil and rest of the tahsil places like Warora, Brahmapuri and Gadhchiroli. The value of goods stored by the small as well as large-sized shops varies from Rs. 300 to Rs. 10,000.

The leather goods and footwear shops are small in size and are located at a few places in the district. These shops could be grouped under two categories viz., one dealing in leather and the other dealing exclusively in foot-wear and leather goods. Foot-wear comprise chappals, sandals and shoes, and leather goods comprise suit-cases, hand-bags, straps and leather accessories. These shops are. mostly found in Chandrapur, Warora, Gadhchiroli, Brahmapuri, Raiura and Nagbhir. In rural areas the cobblers do the work of repairing and making chappals. The big shops located in the cities and towns generally sell products of some well-known foot-wear companies like Bata, Flex, Carona, Swastic etc. along with other indigenous leather goods. At tahsil places or at places where weekly bazars are held the sales of these goods is common. The small shop-keepers purchase the required raw material at the local bazars or sometimes from shops located at Chandrapur and other places. The foot-wear dealers sometimes bring their goods mainly from Nagpur or Bombay. The value of stock-in-trade in case of small establishments varies between Rs. 300 and Rs. 800 and in case of big shops between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 5,000.

Fruits, vegetables and flowers shops are small establishments mostly found at the important towns and market places of the district. The stock-in-trade of these shops is generally limited because of its perishable nature. Generally fruits and vegetables are brought from the immediate surrounding areas. As a large part of the district is covered by the forest area, fruits are available in plenty and in ample varieties. The fruits are exported to Nagpur, Bombay and other north-western districts of Vidarbha. They are mostly mangoes, grapes, bananas, guavas etc. Trade in vegetables and flowers is also seasonal.

Pan, bidi, cigarettes and tobacco shops could be found in almost all the places in the district. Most of these shops are small establishments managed by one person viz., owner and in a few cases by two. These shops sell pan, bidis, chewing tobacco, betelnuts, betel-leaves, catechu, matches, etc., but in some shops postage stamps and envelopes and some petty articles of everyday use are also sold. The commodities are purchased from the local wholesalers or sometimes at the time of festivals from the district places. Their value varies from Rs. 10 to Rs. 500 depending upon the size of the shop. The business is usually slack in the monsoon season.

Hosiery and ready-made clothes shops work on the same pattern as the cloth shops and are found in towns and big villages. These shops keep for sale ready-made clothes such as shirts, pyjamas, frocks, trousers, etc., in cotton as well as in terylene. Small shops keep hand-made clothes or clothes made locally, while shops in the towns which are of a bigger size usually bring ready-made clothes from district places like Nagpur, Bombay or Ahmedabad.