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A supermarket, a large form of the traditional grocery store, is a self-service shop offering a wide variety of food and household products, organized into aisles. It is larger in size and has a wider selection than a traditional grocery store, but is smaller and more limited in the range of merchandise than a hypermarket or big-box market.
The traditional supermarket occupies a large amount of floor space, usually on a single level.
It is usually situated near a residential area in order to be convenient to consumers.
The basic appeal is the availability of a broad selection of goods under a single roof, at relatively low prices.
Other advantages include ease of parking and frequently the convenience of shopping hours that extend into the evening or even 24 hours of day.
Supermarkets usually allocate large budgets to advertising, typically through newspapers.
They also present elaborate in-shop displays of products.
Supermarkets typically are supplied by the distribution centres of their parent companies, usually in the largest city in the area.
Supermarkets usually offer products at relatively low prices by using their buying power to buy goods from manufacturers at lower prices than smaller stores can.
They also minimise financing costs by paying for goods at least 30 days after receipt and some extract credit terms of 90 days or more from vendors.
Certain products (typically staple foods such as bread, milk and sugar) are very occasionally sold as loss leaders, that is, with negativeprofit margins so as to attract shoppers to their store.
There is some debate as to the effectiveness of this tactic.
Customers usually shop by placing their selected merchandise into shopping carts (trolleys) or baskets (self-service) and pay for the merchandise at the check-out.
At present, many supermarket chains are attempting to further reduce labor costs by shifting to self-service check-out machines, where a single employee can oversee a group of four or five machines at once, assisting multiple customers at a time.
A larger full-service supermarket combined with a department store is sometimes known as a hypermarket.
Other services offered at some supermarkets may include those of banks, cafe,childcare centres/creches, photo processing, video rentals, pharmacies and/or petrol stations.
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