UK Accounting Glossary
Wholesale is the sale of goods, usually in quantity, for the purpose of resale to consumers. Wholesale is distinguished from retail, which is the direct sale of goods to the consumer. Thus wholesale banking is providing banking services to other financial institutions, rather than to individuals. As the wholesale price to other companies excludes the retail markup, governments find it worthwhile to measure the increase in prices at the wholesale level as well as the retail level. In the US, the Producers Price Index (which until 1978 was called the Wholesale Price Index) is used to measure wholesale inflation. Notably, wholesale operations in many industries have been squeezed, as new technologies tend to eliminate links in the distribution chain. For example, the Internet can enable manufacturers to bypass the wholesale sector entirely and market directly to the consumer.
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This glossary post was last updated: 5th February 2020.