Before setting up your shop, you will need to incorporate your company. During the company incorporation process on Companies House, you will need to provide your company’s SIC code based on the nature of your business and services. There are over 600 codes on the list of SIC codes to choose from which can be overwhelming. This article explains what a SIC code is and how to choose one for your new business.
What are standard industrial classifications?
A Standard industrial classification code (SIC code) is a five-digit business code which describes a company’s economic activities and business services. These codes help the Office for National Statistics (ONS) track the state and growth of United Kingdom (UK) companies. The condensed UK SIC code list maintained by Companies House is available on the gov.uk website. A private limited company (the most popular type) can have multiple SIC codes. Dormant companies and non-trading companies are also required to have a SIC code.
Your business can have multiple SIC codes if it has multiple business activities. SIC codes can also be updated via a confirmation statement if ever the business’ activities evolve or you carry-out new activities.
What SIC code should I use for my shop?
There are over 40 SIC codes relating to retail sales so it is natural if you find choosing the right SIC code overwhelming. In order to determine which SIC code is appropriate for your business, you should first identify whether your shop will be specialised or non-specialised. A specialised shop is one that predominantly one type of thing, for example clothing whilst a non-specialised store sells a wide variety of products. Unless you food, beverages or tobacco products dominate your non-specialist store, you should use the SIC code 47190 for ‘other retail sale in non-specialised stores’.
In this section we break down retail trades into relevant categories to help you quickly identify which SIC code suits your new business.
- 47110: Retail sale in non-specialised stores with food, beverages or tobacco predominating
- 47210: Retail sale of fruit and vegetables in specialised stores
- 47220: Retail sale of meat and meat products in specialised stores
- 47230: Retail sale of fish, crustaceans and molluscs in specialised stores
- 47240: Retail sale of bread, cakes, flour confectionery and sugar confectionery in specialised stores
- 47250: Retail sale of beverages in specialised stores
- 47290: Other retail sale of food in specialised stores
- 45320: Retail trade of motor vehicle parts and accessories
- 47300: Retail sale of automotive fuel in specialised stores
- 47410: Retail sale of computers, peripheral units and software in specialised stores
- 47421: Retail sale of mobile telephones
- 47429: Retail sale of telecommunications equipment other than mobile telephones
- 47430: Retail sale of audio and video equipment in specialised stores
- 47520: Retail sale of hardware, paints and glass in specialised stores
- 47530: Retail sale of carpets, rugs, wall and floor coverings in specialised stores
- 47540: Retail sale of electrical household appliances in specialised stores
- 47510: Retail sale of textiles in specialised stores
- 47599: Retail of furniture, lighting, and similar (not musical instruments or scores) in specialised store
- 47591: Retail sale of musical instruments and scores
- 47630: Retail sale of music and video recordings in specialised stores
Book and Newspaper Shops
- 47610: Retail sale of books in specialised stores
- 4762: Retail sale of newspapers and stationery in specialised stores
- 47710: Retail sale of clothing in specialised stores
- 47721: Retail sale of footwear in specialised stores
- 47760: Retail sale of flowers, plants, seeds, fertilisers, pet animals and pet food in specialised stores
- 47770: Retail sale of watches and jewellery in specialised stores
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- 47782: Retail sale by opticians
- 47741: Retail sale of hearing aids
- 47749: Retail sale of medical and orthopaedic goods in specialised stores (not incl. hearing aids) n.e.c.
Art and Antique shops
- 47781: Retail sale in commercial art galleries
- 47791: Retail sale of antiques including antique books in stores
- 47810: Retail sale via stalls and markets of food, beverages and tobacco products
- 47820: Retail sale via stalls and markets of textiles, clothing and footwear
- 47890: Retail sale via stalls and markets of other goods
- 47640: Retail sale of sports goods, fishing gear, camping goods, boats and bicycles
- 47190: Other retail sale in non-specialised stores
- 47260: Retail sale of tobacco products in specialised stores
- 47650: Retail sale of games and toys in specialised stores
- 47722: Retail sale of leather goods in specialised stores
- 47750: Retail sale of cosmetic and toilet articles in specialised stores
- 47799: Retail sale of other second-hand goods in stores (not incl. antiques)
- 47789: Other retail sale of new goods in specialised stores (not commercial art galleries and opticians)
- 47910: Retail sale via mail order houses or via Internet
- 47990: Other retail sale not in stores, stalls or markets
Are you ready to start a business?
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The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.