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Revisiting retail globalization

Revisiting retail globalization

At a time when the global economy faces unprecedented uncertainty, when U.S. retail sales are falling, when Europe’s economy is on the verge of recession, and when the big emerging markets are showing signs of significant slowdown and financial risk, now does not seem the best time to discuss retail globalization.

Yet, whatever economic doldrums retailers find themselves in, the reality is that economic growth will eventually return and surviving retailers will need to seek new arenas for expanding. Home markets for developed country retailers are going to be slow growing, saturated, and prone to excessive regulatory interference. To achieve rapid growth, successful retailers will be wise to seek out new territories. What better time to think about the dawn than when things are darkest?

Of course, we’ve been down this road before. Indeed, Deloitte itself wrote about the imminent globalization of retailing several years ago. And while many retailers have taken their stores on the road, the industry remains far less global than many comparable consumer-oriented businesses. If we know anything about this topic, it is that much is to be learned from failure and as well as success. Plenty of retailers have failed in globalizing, yet many have succeeded. Consequently, our report “Revisiting Retail Globalization” offers some lessons learned from both experiences.

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