Global Retail Report Highlights Shifting Hierarchy in International Retail Markets

London, 14th April 2009 – The United Kingdom continues to lead the world as the most international retail market globally as Europe maintains its ability to attract the world’s top retailers, according to the latest retail research from CB Richard Ellis, the 2009 edition of the company’s annual How Global is the Business of Retail? report.

CBRE’s study mapped the global footprint of 280 of the world’s top retailers across 67 countries, exploring the globalisation of the retail industry at national and city levels and highlighting differences between sectors and regions, thereby identifying trends in the patterns of global retail expansion.

The UK outperformed other major European economies such as Spain, France, Germany and Italy to take the number one position within the top 15 most international retail markets ranking, with 58% of all retailers surveyed present. This result extends the UK’s dominance following on from 2007’s number one ranking, having increased its lead over Spain in the past year from eight to 10 percentage points.

Although Europe continues to dominate the top markets, containing eight out of the top 15 most international retail locations, emerging economies such as China, Russia and the United Arab Emirates have gained significant ground in the past 12 months. China, Russia and Japan performed particularly strongly in the 2008 global retail ranking, achieving sixth, seventh and 14th positions respectively. Middle Eastern countries have also seen a marked increase in retailers entering the region. The UAE jumped two places in the ranking, from sixth in 2007 to fourth in 2008, with 45% of international retailers present compared to 39% in 2007. Saudi Arabia also made a notable leap up the rankings from 28th position in 2007 to 15th position in 2008, with 37% of international brands present.

Despite being one of the largest and most established retail markets in the world, the United States surprisingly only registered in 10th position globally, with 39% of international retailers present. This can be attributed, at least in part, to the size, maturity and strength of its domestic market. US retailers tend to penetrate their vast national market extensively before considering international expansion. Since by way of comparison, a retailer would need to have a presence in more than 20 European countries to achieve the same market coverage (in terms of population and spending power) that a US retailer could achieve in that market alone, it is easier to make sense of this trend. Canada made the strongest rise up the global ranking of any country in the Americas in 2008, moving into 13th position from 18th, with 37% of international retailers present, a 6% increase from 2007.

Peter Gold, Head of EMEA Cross Border Retail, CB Richard Ellis, commented: ”Despite the global economic slowdown, many retailers, especially cash-rich private companies, have continued their expansion plans throughout the past 12 months. Our survey of 280 retailers saw retailers expand their international presence by an average of 12% in the past year, being represented in a further two more countries than in the previous year. This was primarily driven by clothing, footwear and accessories retailers from Europe. Interestingly, retailers have continued not just to internationalise, but to globalise – 40% of all new store openings in 2008 were outside the retailer’s home region.

“The emerging markets have been the primary beneficiaries of recent retailer expansion activity, with Middle Eastern, Asian and Eastern European countries dominating the list of new openings. The two common drivers of this trend appear to have been rising local consumer affluence and the opening of major new shopping centres. In Serbia, for instance, the opening of the New Delta shopping mall attracted a significant number of new international retailers. And in Romania, the country’s entry into the EU coincided with the opening of several new shopping centres which allowed international retailers to open their first stores in the country.

“It remains to be seen whether this pace of expansion into emerging markets will be sustained through 2009 and 2010. Yet the globalisation of the retail industry is undoubtedly an ongoing long-term trend which is not going away.”

The report also analysed which types or categories of retailers have the strongest international presence, and found that luxury retailers dominate global retail in terms of their footprint around the world. An astounding 90% of luxury retailers have a presence in more than 10 markets and 40% are present in more than 30 countries.


See 2008 Rank Top 15 Table attached.

For a copy of ‘How Global is the Business of Retail? 2009’, please visit: www.cbre.eu or download the PDF's below (both an executive summary document and a full report document)

CBRE How Global is the Business of Retail 2009 Executive Summary
CBRE How Global is the Business of Retail 2009 Executive Summary

Top 15 Most Internatioanl Retail Markets Table
Top 15 Most Internatioanl Retail Markets Table

CBRE How Global is the Business of Retail 2009 Full Report
CBRE How Global is the Business of Retail 2009 Full Report