What’s the best way to expand internationally? What are your options? What criteria need to be in place before you can launch a global expansion plan? On Wednesday morning, three international retail leaders who have found success in overseas expansion gathered to discuss their business’ experiences in their endeavors.
ALDO Group’s Norman Jaskolka took the stage to give us an overview of how his company’s shoe chains have expanded abroad using the franchise model. The retailer, which operates under six brands, is headquartered in Canada and first expanded into the U.S. After finding success there, the company opened its first franchise store in Israel in 1995. Fifteen years later, the company has stores in almost 50 countries. Jaskolka outlined his criteria for successful international expansion:
- Owner’s dream and vision
- Development of a brand/concept with international-scale potential
- Domestic markets saturated
- Right timing
- Fashion capital credibility
Interestingly, one of the company’s first markets was the U.K. It was chosen because it was thought that many customers from Asia, the Middle East and Europe travel through the U.K. and ALDO’s presence there would improve its fashion capital credibility for those international travelers.
Fawaz Alhokair, founder and chairman of Fawaz Alhokair Group, stressed the importance of having a successful brand at home before expanding abroad. However, if you have the drive and a good supporting team, you can pave your own way to international expansion. One of the Fawaz Alhokair Group’s executives, Simon Marshall, spoke about the challenges of expanding in the Middle East, such as labor-intensity and dealing with volatile political regimes. Marshall offered detailed explanations of three franchise models: a pull model, a push model and consignment.
Ronan Faherty offered the perspective of a retail landlord, Land Securities. He focused on dispelling the myths of expanding into the U.K. He stressed the flexible, dynamic retail scene and the changes to the U.K.’s leasing legislation. He also answered the question: who is the UK shopper? The answer: they are well-traveled and European and they seek both luxury and mass market items.
The general message of this session can be summed up easily: global expansion is possible through a variety of means. With the right team, planning, products and perceptions about the countries you’re expanding to, all kinds of global retail expansion and success are possible.