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What is a (traditional) retail market anyway?

As professionals running retail markets in the food (as well as non-food) arena, we* believe a retail market is best defined as:

Premises (either open-air or covered buildings) which unite a variety of commercial establishments and retail entrepreneurs that provide a wide commercial offer of food products of daily consumption complemented by other non-food products, and all this under a unity of management.

‘Traditional’ market does not necessarily mean ‘old’ market!

Markets are ‘traditional’ in the sense that they respect and utilise historical architecture, offer consumers attention and personalised service, and allow communities vibrant, safe, entertaining and attractive inner-city meeting place, along with offering other social and economic benefits.

Today’s traditional retail markets offer a wide range and variety of product and services in a modern commercialised setting.

*We’ is the retail market division of the World Union of Wholesale Markets (WUWM), a non-profit member association that brings together both municipal and private wholesale and retail market management. For more information visit: wuwm.org

Did you know?

There are over 25,000 retail markets (including open-air/street and covered markets) operating in Western Europe alone. More than 450,000 retail market traders are operating businesses on those markets. Over 1 million people are working on these retail markets, with the total turnover surpassing Euro 40 billion – an estimated 10% of the European retail offer!!!

Did you know?

There are over 100,000 retail market stalls in Spain generating about 280,000 direct jobs, with a turnover of about Euro 5 billion? Some 40% of the fresh food consumption in Spain comes from retail market purchases! Who says markets don’t count?!

Did you know?

There are more than 3,000 weekly markets in Germany. Over 50,000 market traders and some 150,000 employees. In total there are around 250,000 market days with an annual turnover of more than 4 billion Euro.

Did you know?

There are more than 24,000 registered market traders conducting business on over 1,000 weekly markets in The Netherlands. Retail markets there provide the equivalent of 45.500 full time jobs and contribute 3.2 billion Euro, supporting 4.25% of the total consumer spending in the country!

Did you know?

There are more than 3,000 weekly markets in France. Over 50,000 market traders and some 100,000 employees, with an annual turnover of more than 6 billion Euro.

Attention All Town and City Planners…

Markets are an important part of the “slow city” concept: cities that promote pedestrian areas, reduced car use, limited environmental damage and pollution – cities that buck the trend of large retailers and hyper-markets in the suburbs with dying inner-city centres.

Are you a city developer that appreciates markets as an urban development tool? Please contact us today – we would like to know more about your city and its markets!

A compilation of video’s  about markets


Beijing Wangfujing Night Market


You can help

Markets are at the heart of communities everywhere, but they need more ‘official’ recognition if they are going to get the investments they need and deserve. What better voice is there than your voice? The public voice. The local community voice. The consumer voice. How else can we make sure that markets receive the recognition they deserve?!


10 reasons how traditional retail (street/food) markets benefit you and your community