The distributive sector is very large in the UK. It was the third largest sector of the economy in 1985, and was second only to finance in the service sector, being larger than government, education and health. Of course the term ‘distribution’ encompasses more than just retailing-in the UK official statistics it also includes wholesaling, hotels and catering-but retailing is by far the more important of these groups, accounting for about 8 per cent of GNP1 and 10 per cent of total employment in the UK.