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A merchant is a businessman who trades in commodities that he didn't produce himself, in order to earn a profit.

Merchants can be of two types:

  1. A wholesale merchant operates in the chain between producer and retail merchant. Some wholesale merchants only organize the movement of goods rather than move the goods themselves.
  2. A retail merchant or retailer, sells commodities to consumers (including businesses). A shop owner is a retail merchant.


A merchant class characterizes many pre-modern societies. Its status can range from high (the members even eventually achieving titles such as that of merchant prince or nabob) to low, as in Chinese culture, owing to the presumed distastefulness of profiting from "mere" trade rather than from labor or the labor of others as in agriculture and craftsmanship.

Significance in law

In the United Statesmarker, "merchant" is defined (under the Uniform Commercial Code) as any person while engaged in a business or profession or a seller who deals regularly in the type of goods sold. Under the common law and the Uniform Commercial Code in the United Statesmarker, merchants are held to a higher standard in the selling of products than those who are not engaged in the sale of goods as a profession. For example, when a merchant sells something, he or she is deemed to give an implied warranty of merchantability, guaranteeing that the product is fit to be sold, even if there is nothing in writing to this effect. The UCC also contains a "merchant's confirmation" exception to the Statute of Frauds.

References

  • The Merchant Class of Medieval London By Sylvia L. Thrupp [3296]

See also




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