A grocery store or grocer’s shop is a retail shop that primarily sells food. A grocer is a bulk seller of food.
Grocery stores also offer non-perishable foods that are packaged in bottles, boxes, and cans; some also have bakeries, butchers, delis, and fresh produce. Large grocery stores that stock significant amounts of non-food products, such as clothing and household items, are called supermarkets. Some large supermarkets also include a pharmacy, and customer service, redemption, and electronics sections.
In Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, supermarkets and convenience shops are sometimes described as grocery businesses, groceries or simply grocers.[note 1] Small grocery stores that mainly sell fruits and vegetables are known as greengrocers (Britain) or produce markets (U.S.), and small grocery stores that predominantly sell prepared food, such as candy and snacks, are known as convenience shops or delicatessens.
Some grocery stores (especially large ones) form the centerpiece of a larger complex that includes other facilities, such as gas stations, which will often operate under the store’s name.
Some groceries specialize in the foods of a certain nationality or culture, such as Chinese, Italian, Middle-Eastern, or Polish. These stores are known as ethnic markets and may also serve as gathering places for immigrants.In many cases, the wide range of products carried by larger supermarkets has reduced the need for such specialty stores. The variety and availability of food is no longer restricted by the diversity of locally grown food or the limitations of the local growing season.