Retail Dictionary

Do you need to check what something means? It is always handy to understand the specialist business jargon whether talking to your accountant, bank manager or other specialists. Retailtoolbox Retail Dictionary lists the meanings of most commonly used words in retail.


  • Accounts Payable

    Money owed by you (a liability to a creditor) usually for unpaid purchases of goods and services.
  • Accounts Receivable

    Money owing to you (a claim against a creditor) usually limited to uncollected sales of goods and service.
  • Acid-Test Ratio

    A measurement of how well a business can meet its short-term financial obligations without selling any inventory.
  • Add-On Sales

    Add-on sales are the promotion of additional products or services to a customer at the time of purchase.
  • Anchor Store

    A major retail store used to attract customers to a shopping centre. These larger department stores or grocery stores are generally part of a retail chain and are the prominent business in a shopping mall.
  • Asset

    Any physical object (tangible) or right (intangible) having a monetary value. Usually expressed in terms of its cost or depreciated cost on the balance sheet.
  • Atmosphere

    Atmosphere is the physical & emotive characteristics and surrounding influence of a retail store that is used to create an image in order to attract customers.
  • Average Inventory Cost

    Average inventory cost is found by adding the opening inventory (at cost) for each month plus the closing inventory (at cost) for the last month in the period. If calculating for a season, divide by 7. If calculating for a year, divide by 13.


  • Balance Sheet

    One of the big 3 financial statements that shows the financial condition of the business at a given point in time. List assets, liabilities and net worth or Owner’s equity. Based on the formulae assets = liabilities + equity.
  • Beginning Inventory

    See Opening Stock.
  • Big Box Stores

    Large stand-alone store with varying market niches.
  • Bill of Lading

    A bill of lading is a document used as evidence that a transport company or carrier received goods from a shipper.
  • Booking Program

    A vendor booking program is the opportunity to view new products or samples now and to place an order for that merchandise to be delivered at a later date.
  • Brand

    A brand is a name, symbol or other identifying mark for a seller's goods or services. It is distinct from other sellers.
  • Brand Awareness

    A gauge of marketing effectiveness measured by the ability of a customer to recognize and/or recall a name, image or other mark associated with a particular brand.