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Expansion & Franchising

An Industry Without Borders

Retail is a truly global industry where the possibilities are endless for the companies who are looking to take their offer across the world. In this article, RLI zones in on the topics of expansion and franchising and highlights a group of companies who are leading the way in this sector as it continues to grow and evolve.

No matter the size of a company, whether it is a multi-billion-dollar global behemoth or a small business just starting out, international expansion and franchising are challenging and difficult processes. From trying to learn and adapt to new markets, to taking the reins off and letting someone else run one a store under your banner, understanding these concepts can go a long way to letting your business flourish. With the right strategies and approach, expansion and franchising can be a doorway to exceptional opportunities and growth.

The ’20 Companies that have Successfully Expanded Internationally’ article by Nataly Kelly, she explains that companies around the world that have successfully expanded internationally have also shown the value of building strong brand images, cultivating customer loyalty and creating personalised experiences. Furthermore, they have emphasised the importance of having a clear vision and strategy for international growth, as well as the ability to adapt and pivot when necessary.

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Tiffany & Co., New York, US

Founded 83 years ago in San Bernardino, California, McDonald’s is an American multinational fast-food chain that is possibly the most recognisable brands on the planet. It is also the world’s largest chain of restaurants with over 38,000 locations in over 100 countries. Its international expansion began in 1967 with a site in Canada and it continues today, recently opening its ‘restaurant of the future’ flagship unit in Dubai, UAE. Moving with the times, the new site in Dubai features an all-female team and focuses on energy-saving technology incorporating solar power, electric vehicle charging points and energy-saving facilities.

Nike has begun the pursuit of its next stage of expansion with the launch of its first ‘Rise’ store in North America. Opened in Aventura Mall in Miami, the new concept features Sport Pulse, a digital storytelling platform that has become a feature of Rise stores. The screens display local sports, city and athlete data, including from the retailer’s Nike Training Club and Nike Run Club apps, as well as local sports content. Nike Aventura will also feature The Sport Hub, where shoppers can return items, pick up their online purchases, scan items for product information and use their SNKRS Pass. The retailer also has Rise stores in Seoul, South Korea and London after testing the concept in Guangzhou back in 2020.

A leading powerhouse in the fashion and lifestyle industry, Apparel Group caters to thousands of eager shoppers through its more than 2,000 retail stores and 80 brands across its platforms. Through its expansion, the company has created an omni-channel experience and operates brands who originate from the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and Asia. Since its inception, the business has created a strong presence across the GCC and expanded thriving gateways to the market in locations such as India, South Africa, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan and Egypt. In addition, clear strategies are in place to enter emerging markets such as Hungary and the Philippines.

Leading multinational clothing company Inditex, which is headquartered in Spain, last year opened stores in 33 markets as it continues its global expansion drive. The group remained very active in store optimisation activities (201 openings, 186 refurbishments which included 94 upsizing’s and 349 absorptions). At the end of FY2022, Inditex operated 5,815 stores. Whilst remaining very active in store optimisation and digitalisation, they continue to see strong growth opportunities in markets around the world.

One of the largest technology companies on the planet, Apple, continues to increase its physical store presence by focusing on design and creating products that resonate with its consumers around the world. The company is planning to expand its Apple store efforts by introducing a number of new retail locations worldwide and overhauling several stores in the US. There are 15 new stores coming to the Asia-Pacific region, five stores coming to Europe and the Middle East and four stores coming to the US and Canada. Another 28 stores in Asia, Europe and North America will be revamped or relocated, with Apple working on the updates through 2027. The company recently unveiled a brand new site in the largest UK development of its generation, Battersea Power Station.

Technology rival Samsung has recently put its efforts into temporary spaces, but it continues to have a strong and growing network of retail stores, partner stores and its own Experience stores around the world. In addition, earlier this year the company announced it will open 29 interactive Galaxy Experience Spaces in locations such as San Francisco, London, Paris, Singapore and Dubai following the 1st February Galaxy Unpacked event. These spaces will allow visitors and fans of the brand to see and interact with newly unveiled devices and innovations.

French multinational beauty retailer Sephora is laying down plans for continued growth in a crowded and competitive marketplace with multiple challenges. For example, the LVMH-owned business, which has more than 2,600 stores across 35 countries, has relaunched in the UK this year. A key focus is a twin expansion of Sephora’s physical stores combined with development of digital sales. Besides the UK, accelerated global development in regions such as Latin America and Asia is underway. Sephora positions itself as a “beauty playground”, tapping into consumers’ prediction for small luxuries during a period of global economic uncertainty and is counting on now being the right time to bring that to new markets.

Primark is an Irish multinational fast fashion retailer who continues to expand around the world. Close to home, the company is set to open two new UK stores, one in Glasgow and one in Salisbury as the value fashion giant continues its retail expansion. The new Glasgow Fort store will be Primark’s fourth in the Scottish city and its 21st in Scotland and is slated to open in early 2025. Meanwhile in the coming weeks Primark will open a new store in the cathedral city of Salisbury in Wiltshire. The 29,700sq ft store is due to open on 13 September. Outside of the UK, the brand has this year launched its first sites in Romania, with the inaugural one opening at ParkLake Shopping Centre. They have also continued their US growth and are targeting 60 stores in the country by 2026.

As the only luxury brand on the National Retail Federation’s ‘2023 Hot 25 Retailers List’ Tiffany & Co., which has recently been bought by LVMH, is a leading industry luxury jewellery and specialty retailer that was founded in New York in 1837. As Tiffany & Co. continues to grow its international presence, they celebrated their freshly refurbished New York City flagship, “The Landmark” while behind the scenes, top executives have also been working on a retail overhaul further afield in China, its second biggest market. The LVMH-owned label has already secured prime real estate for several new Tiffany locations in China and it currently has 39 Tiffany stores in mainland China.

Major UK-sports retailer JD Sports has acquired the remaining 40 per cent stake of Marketing Investment Group S.A (MIG), making it the sole owner of the Poland-based retailer in a bid to accelerate its expansion across Central and Eastern Europe. JD Sports has continued to successfully grow its presence across Central and Eastern Europe. Its most recent buy was Spanish sports retail company Iberian Sports Retail (ISRG) last month (July) in a €500M deal. Prior to that it set its sights on a proposed €520M acquisition of French sports brand Courir. In fact, its European expansion strategy has seen the opening of 18 JD stores in five countries within the region.

UNIQLO, the Japanese global apparel retailer has announced the latest in its expansion plans in India, with the opening of its highly-anticipated first store in Mumbai, the de facto financial capital of India. Launching on 6 October at Phoenix Marketcity Mall in Kurla, UNIQLO will provide Mumbai customers a new shopping experience that offers its innovative, functional and high-quality apparel, developed under the brand’s LifeWear concept aims to make everyone’s life better. UNIQLO’s global journey began with its first London store in 2001 and today there are more than 2,400 UNIQLO stores located across the world, with the majority located outside Japan.