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The Internationalisation of Retailing in Europe


The Internationalisation of Retailing in Europe

Edited by Dr. Ken Jones

 In a recent article in The New Republic (April 26/May 3, 1999), Daniel Yergen argues that analysis of internationalization should focus on 'globality' rather than 'globalization'.  While studies of globalization focus on the processes by which businesses expand into the markets around the world, globality focuses on what happens afterwards.  Globality is associated with: general confidence in the pricing and allocational mechanisms of markets; greater levels of economic integration (EEC in Europe, NAFTA in North America, Mercosur in South America); new information and communications technologies that knit the world together; and the convergence of technology and economic integration that has turned capital markets into a force unto themselves.  In Yergen's view of the world this means that the control that governments have over their own economies is decreasing - a trend exemplified in 1999 with the introduction of the 'euro'.  In Canada, there is now some discussion of the implications of a NAFTA dollar zone.

Commercial activities, which include retailing, personal services, entertainment, restaurants and some financial services, have not been immune from these internationalizing trends.   The papers in this collection include a necessary overview of the evolution and trends in retailing in Europe, have papers that focus on the impact of direct foreign investment in general, and hypermarket development in particular on Poland.  These are followed by a consideration of the ways in elements of national identity may be impacted through the presence of foreign-owned department stores.  The local response to greater price, service and choice competition provided from sudden incursions from international chains and franchises is addressed with respect to Greece.  The restructuring of retailing in the former East Germany consequent to unification with the former West Germany is examined as an example of the outcome of globalization processes.  As many international companies locate in off-centre locations, a case study is included of the response of some small town centres in the UK to this type of competition.  The monograph concludes with a general commentary on the relationship between globalization, globality and deregulation based on research undertaken at CSCA in the number of metropolitan markets around the world.

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