• The Single Market Initiative (SMI) has resulted in many changes in European retailing. This study explores the influences of the SMI on the European retail sector and discusses the strategic trends emerging from recent changes. The study is based on secondary sources of data as well as on personal interviews throughout Eu rope. The results indicate that although retailing in Europe remains fragmented, very competitive, and dominated by small and medium-sized firms, large, world-class retailers are emerging/en tering the European retailing scene and intensifying competition. Saeed Samiee Carrefour, the Evry-based French hypermarket operator, con solidated its domestic position by acquiring two competing firms in 1992 (Fleming and Lichtblau 1991). Also, Marks & Spencer, the large British apparel and food retailer, announced that it will strengthen its continental position by opening 25 stores in France and, since the late 1980s, Toys-R-Us has accel erated its global expansion, notably in Europe. These strategic moves in European retailing are in part a response to the antic ipated growth of the European market in the post-1992 era and in part due to the expectation of an emerging pan-European market by an increasing number of retailers. These examples also serve as indications that the fragmented European distribution system is ready for cultivation by the more efficient, well-positioned retailers. In addition, the psy che surrounding the Single Market Initiative (SMI?i.e., the 1992 Plan) coupled with demographic and socioeconomic pat terns, has led to new shopping patterns and behaviors (e.g., in creased cross-border shopping) across the European Union (EU). Thus, European retailers have added incentives to be come more productive and competitive and to vie for a larger portion of the EU retail revenues. Concurrently, changes in the competitive structure of the retail sector resulting from the SMI have increased the risks for non-responsive retailers. The plethora of publicity regarding the onset of the SMI, the Maastricht Treaty, and the European Economic Area (EEA) has created considerable uncertainty among firms contem plating the opportunities and the competitive threats of do ing business across Europe. The EU was, for the most part, ready for the unified market in 1993 having met nearly all facets of the SMI (i.e., the 1987 Single European Act?SEA). The influence of the SMI on many sectors of European economies has been addressed through a variety of publica tions (e.g., Business Response to the 1992 European Initiative Submitted November 1994 Revised April 1995 June 1995 ? Journal of International Marketing Vol. 3, No. 3, 1995, pp. 49-76 ISSN 1069-031X ()
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  • Strategie Considerations in European Retailing ()


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