In a piece of software, what would I call a store that sells items to the public in real life as opposed to an online store (ie. a health-food store).

It will look like this:

  1. ____ Store
  2. Online Store

The fashionable phrase is brick and mortar business.

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    +1; This is exactly what I would call it. You don't strictly need "business" here, either. A brick and mortar store/building/etc all work. – MrHen May 2 '11 at 12:53
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    @dino: Something like "Brick and mortar office supply store" or "brick and mortar book store." The phrase would be "brick and mortar [topic] [store]." You can use "business" or "building" in place of "store": "I prefer shopping at brick and mortar businesses." – MrHen May 2 '11 at 12:57
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    I thought it was usually pluralised, i.e. "bricks and mortar store." 'Brick' is not usually a mass noun. – DisgruntledGoat May 2 '11 at 13:44
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    @DisgruntledGoat: It isn't always a mass noun, but it can be (e.g. "house made of brick"), and is here. – Kosmonaut May 2 '11 at 16:03
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    "Bricks and mortar" became common than "brick and mortar" some time ago according the Google N-gram Viewer but both are still popular. But keep in mind that this phrase has an older sense relating to property investment in contrast to less tangible forms of investment or speculation. – hippietrail May 2 '11 at 23:05

Physical store is a possibility.

Actually, I would just say "Online" (online store) and "Store" (real store).

  • Although both are "real". – PeteGO Sep 15 '14 at 19:52

These are sometimes called High Street stores in British English.

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    Or "High street shops", "shop" being more common than "store" for the things. – Colin Fine May 3 '11 at 11:37
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    @Colin, yep, I'd say "shop", but I wanted to emphasise the High St bit. – Deditos May 3 '11 at 20:38
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    This changes the meaning. Physical store could be a Wallmart, which most definitely is not High Street store. – vartec May 4 '11 at 14:31
  • @vartec: you're right on both points, but that doesn't affect how I've experienced the phrase being used in recent years. It's common in conversation, where familiarity can trump precision, but probably less relevant to the OP's software. – Deditos May 4 '11 at 20:22

You'll also see non-online outlets referred to as the following:

  • traditional retail stores
  • conventional retail stores
  • retail
  • local stores/shops
  • offline stores

Henry's answer is dead on but some stores have their own variations. The board game community calls their stores the FLGS for Friendly-Local-Gaming-Store.

  • @MrHen: If OP was working on software for a chain of stores specialising in board games, they'd have probably have told him in the project spec that they wanted to be called FLGS's. But then he wouldn't be able to re-sell the package to, say, music stores. – FumbleFingers May 4 '11 at 2:27
  • @Fumble: The takeaway is that some specialties have their own terms. Any any software package that hardcodes a term like that is designed incorrectly. – MrHen May 4 '11 at 2:49
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    @MrHen: Tell me about it. I wrote software for bus companies to analyse Route Revenue. Or Service Revenue as some would have it. Put it all in the User Config settings, and hope they don't specify something too long to display properly in your page design. – FumbleFingers May 4 '11 at 3:01
  • @MrHen: What about FumbleFingers' advice STOCKIST? – beytarovski May 4 '11 at 7:38
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    @dino: I have never heard the word STOCKIST and have no idea what it means. – MrHen May 4 '11 at 12:58

I assume you're asking because in your 'piece of software' you want to present these two store types so the user can pick one.

In which case you don't really want something 'quirky' like bricks-and-mortar, and things like traditional/conventional retail store would look a bit verbose.

But the user can see the alternatives, and he already knows what an Online Store is. Just call the other type Stockist. I'm sure it would be readily understood without being thought odd.

  • if you are right, that's exactly what i am looking for. Just let me know if you have any good example (I mean, i want to be sure to use this word STOCKIST). – beytarovski May 4 '11 at 7:24
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    I'd consider "Stockist" quirky, have read brick-and-mortar much more often than "Stockist". – Jürgen A. Erhard May 4 '11 at 10:56
  • My dictionary lists stockish as Brit. and my spellchecker doesn't think it is a word. The definition appears to be something that sells one type of goods and has no mention of a physical or non-physical store. – MrHen May 4 '11 at 17:44
  • @MrHen: Well obviously I must have been a bit parochial in suggesting it. I knew the word well enough, and thought it was primarily US anyway, so it just seemed like a suitable choice for a short word in this context. Apparently it's even more 'quirky' to US speakers than brick and mortar is to me. But it's impossible to argue against the number of upvotes that has. – FumbleFingers May 4 '11 at 18:58
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    @dino beytar: I use Google Instant, but I'm sure I've never included Stockist in a search term until a minute ago. Having typed wahl clippers sto, the four alternative completions were stopped working, stores, storm, and stockist. I'm now off to see what on earth wahl clippers storm is all about, but I think that's proof enough that some (UK, at least) people expect to buy things from stockists. – FumbleFingers May 5 '11 at 3:17

You can call them Physical Stores.

There is a nice usage example in the Brick and mortar business wikipedia article


I think 'Local store' is the simplest and best sounding way to phrase it.

  • unless it's not local. – PeteGO Sep 15 '14 at 19:52

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