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Wholesaling or distributing is the sale of goods or merchandise to retailers; to industrial, commercial, institutional, or other professional business users; or to other wholesalers (wholesale businesses) and related subordinated services. In general, it is the sale of goods to anyone other than a standard consumer.
According to the United Nations Statistics Division, wholesale is the resale (sale without transformation) of new and used goods to retailers, to industrial, commercial, institutional or professional users, or to other wholesalers, or involves acting as an agent or broker in buying merchandise for, or selling merchandise to, such persons or companies. Wholesalers frequently physically assemble, sort and grade goods in large lots, break bulk, repack and redistribute in smaller lots. While wholesalers of most products usually operate from independent premises, wholesale marketing for foodstuffs can take place at specific wholesale markets where all traders are congregated.
Traditionally, wholesalers were closer to the markets they supplied than the source from which they got the products. However, with the advent of the internet and e-procurement there are an increasing number of wholesalers located nearer to the manufacturers in China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia.
In the banking industry "wholesale" usually refers to wholesale banking, providing tailored services to large customers, in contrast with retail banking, providing standardized services to large numbers of smaller customers.
Often, in the United States, wholesalers are not required to charge their buyers sales tax, if the buyer has a resale license in the state the wholesaler is located. Out of state buyers are not charged sale tax by wholesalers. 
The alternative to selling wholesale to distributors or retailers is to sell retail either through company-owned stores or online. Advantages include receiving a larger slice of the price paid by the consumer; disadvantages include difficulty in reaching consumers.
Top wholesalers in U.SEdit
|Ranking 2012||Company/ Headquarters||Latest FY (M$)||locations served||deliveries per week||% of sales to chain stores||% of sales to Indep.||# of warehouses||Warehouses (thousands Sq. feet)||full employee||sales per Sq. foot (thousands $)||sales per employee (thousands $)||sales per location (thousands $)||sales per delivery ($)|
|2||Core-Mark Holding Co. Inc.||8,115||30000||–||50||50||28||–||5000||–||1623||271||–|
|4||H.T. Hackney Co||4,000||20000||–||–||–||28||–||–||–||–||200||–|
|5||GSC Enterprises Inc.||1300||8000||6500||68||32||6||1676||1315||776||989||163||200|
|7||Harold Levinson Associates Inc.||1200||15000||15000||10||90||1||550||475||2182||2526||80||80|
|8||Imperial/Harrison Super regional||1,025||2950||3120||64||36||4||379||447||2704||2293||347||329|
|9||Amcon Distributing Co.||1004||5000||–||–||–||6||601||–||1671||–||201||–|
|10||S. Abraham & Sons Inc.||939||3614||3079||58||42||2||440||477||2134||1969||260||306|
|11||Consumer Product Distributors inc.||926||3695||4185||44||56||4||300||574||3087||1613||251||221|
|12||Chambers & Owen Inc.||765||–||–||50||50||1||265||300||2887||2550||–||–|
|13||Liberty USA Inc.||700||1800||1650||70||30||1||150||250||4667||2800||389||424|
|14||Garber Bros. Inc.||695||2400||3100||60||40||1||200||246||3475||2825||290||244|
|15||J.T. Davenport & Sons Inc.||600||2000||–||70||30||2||211||–||2844||–||300||–|
|16||Cooper Booth Wholesale Co.||540||1750||1175||20||80||1||110||187||4909||2888||309||460|
|17||Atlantic Dominion Distributors||486||2100||1600||65||35||2||180||120||2700||4050||231||304|
|19||Stephenson Wholesale Co. Inc.||405||3500||4533||35||65||202||292||2005||1387||116||89|
|20||Pine State Trading Co.||400||5000||–||55||45||5||246||–||1626||–||80||–|
|21||Harbor Wholesale Grocery Inc.||391||2500||1700||40||60||2||300||265||1303||1475||156||230|
|22||Southco Distributing Co.||343||1400||2200||45||55||1||225||180||1524||1906||245||156|
|23||Richmond-Master Distributors Inc.||300||1400||810||30||70||5||210||–||1429||–||214||370|
|24||Thomas & Howard Co. Inc.||250||1500||2300||47||53||3||300||300||833||833||167||109|
|25||Allen Brothers Wholesale Dist. Inc.||230||1358||930||33||67||1||65||72||3538||3194||169||247|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wholesalers.|
|Look up wholesale in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- "WTO – accession : Protocols of accession for new members since 1995, including commitments in goods and services". www.wto.org. Archived from the original on 4 March 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
- "United Nations Statistics Division – Classifications Registry". unstats.un.org. Archived from the original on 21 March 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
- Chandler, A. D. (1994). Scale and scope The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press. p. 29.
- Michael Gravette, wholesaler for 32 years.
- "Als Lieferant mitmachen" (in German). eu-lieferanten.de. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- Ian Mount (March 6, 2013). "Clothing Companies Trying to Find More Direct Paths to Customers". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 7, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-06-26. Retrieved 2014-01-08.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)