Women who ran groceries and other food sales shops were much more likely to be married. Often, the occupation of their husbands was a grocer as well, suggesting a de facto partnership. However, there were substantial numbers of female grocers married to butchers, coal merchants and other food sales occupations.
Grocers and food sales relied heavily on family labour: over half employed at least one person from their own household, in most cases their children, or worked alongside in a partnership. Widows were the most likely to do so, which probably reflected their need to replace the lost labour of their late spouse in the family partnership.