Standard Industrial Classification - Establishments (SIC-E) 1980

I - Wholesale Trade Industries

Establishments in wholesale trade are primarily engaged in buying merchandise for resale to retailers to industrial, commercial, institutional, farm or professional business users to other wholesalers or in acting as agents or brokers in buying merchandise for, or selling merchandise to, such persons or companies on a commission basis.
The determination of whether a particular business (such as a hardware dealer) is a wholesaler or retailer is based primarily on the "class of customer" criterion. If a business derives the largest portion of its gross margin from sales to businesses, government establishments, institutions, etc. rather than from sales to household consumers or private users, it will be classified as a wholesaler.
Certain trade establishments are classified as wholesalers whether they sell to other businesses or household consumers, for the following reasons: 1) due to the generally large sales to industrial, commercial, institutional and other business users by the industry as a whole and 2) because of the businesses' difficulties in delineating between sales to other businesses and sales to individual users. Such businesses deal in the following types of commodities: office and store furniture, equipment and supplies lumber and building materials farm supplies fuel oil, and all types of machinery and equipment.
The installation of prefabricated building equipment and materials by general contractors and special trade contractors is classified to construction. Similar installation work performed as a service incidental to sale by employees of an establishment selling prefabricated equipment and materials is classified to the appropriate industry of Wholesale Trade Division.
For purposes of industrial classification, wholesale establishments are classified in three- digit industry groups and four-digit industries according to the principal lines of commodity sold.
Wholesalers may also be classified by type of operation, but this classification is independant of the industrial classification. As indicated in the first paragraph the two principal types of operations are:
1) Wholesale Merchants - Establishments primarily engaged in buying and selling merchandise on their own account. In addition, they may perform one or more of the following related functions: breaking bulk, providing delivery service to customers, operating warehouse facilities for storage of the goods they sell. Included in this category are wholesalers known as: drop shippers or desk jobbers, export merchants, import merchants, mail order wholesalers, rack jobbers or voluntary general wholesale distributors. Wholesale merchants also include other wholesale operations sometimes known as assemblers of primary products which are primarily engaged in purchasing products outright from farmers, loggers, fishermen and trappers. Also included are petroleum bulk tank plants and truck distributors which operate on own account and certain manufacturers' sales branches which are separate establishments, i.e. which carry a stock of merchandise and are primarily engaged in wholesaling activity. Manufacturers' sales branches which do not carry stock of their own are classified as extensions of manufacturing establishments.
2) Agents and Brokers - Establishments primarily engaged in buying and/or selling, on a commission basis, products owned by others. They may be known as an auction company, commission merchant, import agent or broker, export agent or broker, manufacturers' agent, purchasing agent or resident buyer and selling agent, and may deal in any type of product including primary and petroleum products. Marketing Boards which are designed to stabilize prices by controlling production of agricultural products are included as wholesalers in the appropriate industry.

Standard Industrial Classification - Establishments (SIC-E) 1980 - Classification structure
Code Major group
50Farm Products Industries, Wholesale Farm Products Industries, Wholesale
51Petroleum Products Industries, Wholesale Petroleum Products Industries, Wholesale
52Food, Beverage, Drug and Tobacco Industries, Wholesale Food, Beverage, Drug and Tobacco Industries, Wholesale
53Apparel and Dry Goods Industries, Wholesale Apparel and Dry Goods Industries, Wholesale
54Household Goods Industries, Wholesale Household Goods Industries, Wholesale
55Motor Vehicle, Parts and Accessories Industries, Wholesale Motor Vehicle, Parts and Accessories Industries, Wholesale
56Metals, Hardware, Plumbing, Heating and Building Materials Industries, Wholesale Metals, Hardware, Plumbing, Heating and Building Materials Industries, Wholesale
57Machinery, Equipment and Supplies Industries, Wholesale Machinery, Equipment and Supplies Industries, Wholesale
59Other Products Industries, Wholesale Other Products Industries, Wholesale
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