Retail and wholesale trade

Both the retail and wholesale industries are rapidly growing in Australia due to a vibrant domestic market.

The basic difference between retail and wholesale? Retail is selling goods and services to the general public, wholesale is selling goods and services to businesses. Retail includes selling goods online or commission based selling as well as the traditional retail shopfronts.

Retail includes pharmacies, supermarkets, florists, books stores, hardware, clothes, textiles,motor vehicles and many more.. Retail accounts for 10% of Australia’s employment so is a very important part of the job market. The retail trade sector is very diverse and in demand.

Wholesale trade doesn’t have a shopfront. They operate out of warehouses or factories or distribution centres. Wholesale isn’t as large an employer as retail and it is a smaller industry in comparison. However despite its small size there are many job opportunities. Mostly for managers, clerical workers, sales workers and machinery operators. ABout 40% of the wholesale work force doesn’t have a post school education.

Typical jobs:

  • Sales assistant

  • advertising, public relations and sales managers

  • auctioneers, and stock and station agents

  • motor vehicle and vehicle parts sales persons

  • store persons

Would it suit me?

The industry could suit you if you:

  • Are good with numbers, monitoring stock and inventories

  • Good with budgets and invoices and basic accounting

  • Like dealing with all kinds of people from different backgrounds

  • Like working with others, including clients, tradespeople or building professionals

  • Are good at sales and negotiations

  • Like problem solving

  • Are organised and have an eye for detail.

How do I get into the industry?

Some of the most popular courses in this industry include:

  • Certificate III in Retail

  • Certificate III in Automotive Sales

  • Diploma of Marketing and Communication

  • Certificate IV in Retail Management

  • Certificate IV in Business Sales


Speak to your school to find out more.


  • Skills


  • Retail and wholesale trade

Business Unit:

  • Training Services NSW
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