Retail property is considered commercial real estate (as opposed to ‘residential real estate’). Commercial real estate includes buildings or land intended to generate profit; retail is simply a sub-category of commercial real estate.
Retail property is a commercially zoned property used solely for business purposes, the actual selling of the product, rather than its manufacture — retail stores, malls, shopping centers and shops are all under the retail umbrella.
Companies selling goods and services operate businesses, such as furniture and clothing stores, in retail locations. Convenience goods are sold at businesses close to customers' homes, such as food and drug stores. Service businesses and offices sell things such as insurance, car repairs and beauty salons.
Generally, businesses that occupy commercial real estate often lease the space. An investor usually owns the building and collects rent from each business that operates there.