Thanks for the feedback, it's much appreciated. Without specifications, I can only guess what could be wrong.
If Merchant skill is there by design, that is ok for me. (after all it's your game, not mine )
However I will give my way of reasoning why I would have placed it further down the skill chain.
Personally I would make it a bit more difficult to open a shop, given the physical limitation on free promenade places and shops never seem to close.
Given the ease of opening shops and given that items were not bound to character in early days of the game, it looks like many people have opened shops to get rid of their second hand (Civilian) stuff. These shops are now empty or with very few stuff left.
Currently (with items bound to character), shops are only useful to people that actually produce stuff and are willing to sell it... These are the professions in my opinion:
-> Mining / Refiner / Harvester: for raw / refined resources
-> Crafting: for crafted items
-> Salvaging? (I'm not familiar with this game play yet)
I guess only a mining profession can profit from a cheap merchant skill and quickly produce raw asteroid resources for sale straight away at start of game, the other professions need to traverse several skills before producing anything anyhow.