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Aug 6, 2014
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Who are the most dynamic global retailers?

Aug 6, 2014

Are American brands homebodies? Not according to CBRE’s latest study on the expansion activities of 334 leading retailers in 61 countries. The American brands are in fact the most global.

Nearly 89% of them can be found in the Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) market and 81% have a foothold in the Asia-Pacific region. All told, 80% have a global presence. And among the companies surveyed, the labels based in the United States were clearly the most dynamic. “Having set their sights on Western Europe and Asia, American retailers are now the most global in their approach,” explained the CBRE study. “Of the 61 countries in the study, 45 saw a new arrival from the United States in 2013. Still, Japan was their primary target last year.”

In 2013, the Americans were thus the most aggressive in their international growth. No fewer than 23% of American brands moved into new cities in CBRE’s study area. In 2013, retailers from the Americas could be found in 2.7% more of these key cities than in 2012. On average, they were present in 51.8 cities worldwide.

Hollister arrived in Melbourne, Australia, in 2013. Image, Hollister Instagram.

Behind the Americans, the Italians were the most active in 2013 (16% of brands entered new cities), followed by the English (12%) and the French (11%). The Europeans favored expansion in Europe (49% of them) and in Asia, primarily in China and Hong Kong. Indeed, 63% of the labels from the EMEA area are seen in the Asia-Pacific region, while only 53% of them have a presence on the other side of the Atlantic. On average, they are present in 45.7 cities, a figure up by 1.4% from 2012.

Uniqlo’s store in New Jersey. Image, Uniqlo.

As for the Asian brands, they have focused on business development closer to home. Over half of them are found only in the Asia-Pacific market. Aside from companies like Uniqlo or Muji, they feel confronted by cultural barriers in Europe or America and look instead to markets like the Middle East, which they find easier to enter, particularly via master franchising agreements.

Overall, the retailers studied had expanded their global footprint by 1.7%. They could be found in 18 countries on average in 2013 as compared with 17.7 a year earlier.

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