Retail shops provide the essential link between wholesale transactions and the consumer. In the past when Indian economy was more self-sufficient and barter oriented, retail shops were small establishments dealing in a few varieties of articles. In the circumstances prevailing then, weekly bazars were important as regards retail transactions. The villagers used to buy their requirements for the week from the bazars. Itinerant traders like pedlars and hawkers used to sell articles like oils, cloth, grains, groceries, spices, dry fruits, kerosene, ghee, etc. This state of trade, however, changed with the changes in the economic condition of the people. The change was more remarkable in the urban and semi-urban areas in the district. Since the last three decades, there has been an increase in the number of retail shops and the volume of sales has also gone up.

During the Second World War and the following years there was rationing of consumers goods in virtue of which distribution of rice, wheat, jowar, sugar, gul, kerosene, cloth, etc., was restricted to the authorised ration shops. The controls were relaxed gradually in 1948 and 1950.

The following is the description of the various groups of retail shops in the district:—

Grocery Shops

Grocery shops are the most numerous and their turnover is the largest of all in Dhulia district. There are a number of them in every town or village. They sell wheat, tur, dal, gut, kerosene, groundnut oil, hydrogenated oils, coconut oil, spices, condiments, soaps, toilets, pencils, tea, coffee, tobacco, bidi, confectionery, etc. A few are found selling stationery and cutlery goods, and medicines like aspro, anacin, purgolax, castophene, peps, paludrine, castor oil, etc., Grocery shops in the towns have assumed a varied character. The big grocers at Dhulia, Nandurbar and Dondaicha procure the goods from local wholesalers or from Bombay, Surat and Jnlgaon. The grocers in villages procure their stock-in-trade from the towns in the district.

Cloth, Readymade clothes and Hosiery.

The cloth shops deal in coarse, medium and mercerised cloth. During the last few vears the sale of superfine, terelyne decron and nylon fabrics has gone up to a considerable extent. The impact of the changing fashions in apparel is perceptibly obvious. Banarasi shaloos and paithanis are becoming less popular. Their place has-been taken by Bangalore silk, Kanjivaram silk and other man-made fabrics.

Cloth is imported by the dealers from Bombay, Ahmedabad, Madras, Kanpur, Nagpur and Malegaon. Ready-made clothes are imported from Bombay and Poona, whereas hosiery goods are brought from Ludhiana, Delhi, Jullunder and Kanpur.

Dhulia is by far the most important centre of retail trade in cloth in the district. Besides retailers, there are many wholesale shops in Dhulia town.

Pan, Bidi and Tobacco.

They are very small shops providing employment to a person or two. Pan, bidi, cigarettes, betel-nuts, catechu (kat) and some- times confectionery are sold in these shops. The stock-in-trade is obtained from the wholesale dealers of Dhulia and Surat. Better quality cigarettes are found only in shops in the towns like Dhulia and Nandurbar.

Stationery and Cutlery.

Shops falling in this group sell toilet articles, bangles, hosiery, pencils, inks, nibs, fountain pens, cutlery and provision goods. Almost all the goods are brought from Bombay, though the small ones purchase them from the dealers at Dhulia and Nandurbar. Value of goods stored by the smaller and bigger shops may vary from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 25,000. Sales decline during periods of vacations, and go up in the months of June and July when educational institutions re-open.

In certain cases stationery and cutlery shops sell school and college books and note-books.

Radio-sets and electrical appliances.

These shops are found mainly at Dhulia, Nandurbar, Dondaicha, Shirpur, Shahada, and Navapur. With the progress in electrification of urban as well as rural areas, the demand for radio sets, electric fans, electric irons, fluroscent tubes, bulbs and electric wires has rnultiplied. This resulted in a flourishing trade in electrical goods.

The electrical goods and appliances are mainly brought from Bombay, Poona, and Calcutta.

     Sweets and Eatables.

Sweetmeat shops sell pedha, barfi, bundiladu, jilebi, chivda, shev, bhaji, etc. Some of them sell milk, curds, chakka, shrikhand and mava.Dhulia district being affluent in the production of milk, varied sweet dishes prepared from milk are available in ample quantity. The stock-in-trade of an individual shop varies from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,500. They purchase their equipment and material either locally or from the weekly bazars in the district.


Next to the chief trade centres in the distribution and collection of goods, come the market towns. At these towns, on a fixed day in the week a market is held, where, besides the permanent local traders and shopkeepers, pedlars, hawkers, and agents of some of the larger dealers set up booths, and offer for sale copper and iron vessels, glass bracelets, turbans, waistcloths, women's robes, coarse cloth, dyes, cotton, clarified butter, garden produce, oil, and grain. Special markets for livestock, ponies, cattle, and sheep, are not uncommon. The booths are generally set up over-night and at an early hour the market is thronged by people from the villages around; and after a slack hour or two in the heat of the day, it again fills towards the evening. Almost all the transactions are done in money. But in several market towns, especially in the more outlaying parts in the west, Bhills and other tribes bring fuel, honey, and lac, and in the season, moha berries and charoli seed and barter them for cloth and trinkets. When the day is over, the sellers pack what remains and move to the next convenient market town. Though chiefly a means of distribution, these markets give dealers and the agents of export houses a good opportunity for buying or arranging for buying field and other produce.