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Multichannel occupies retailers as they slow global expansion

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The world’s largest retailers have slowed global expansion to focus instead on multichannel, according to new research.

Analysis of the Accenture Globalization Index, which analyses Planet Retail data for nearly 500 of the largest global retailers, found the top 500 retailers are putting the emphasis on reorganizing as multichannel retailers, with the focus on integrated and strengthened store, internet and mobile sales channels.

While retailers went into 43 new markets through new stores, websites, acquisitions or joint ventures, in the quarter running from July to October 2012, that fell in the following quarter, from October to January 2013, to only 17.

Movement into Asian markets including China, Indonesia and Thailand were particularly affected by the trend, with new ventures falling from 13 in the first quarter to two in the second.

“The operating model and supporting infrastructure required by retailers to meet their customers’ expectations for a seamless experience across all available channels is both time- and capital- intensive,” said Chris Donnelly, global managing director of Accenture’s retail practice. “These results suggest that retailers are focusing more on getting it right at home before exporting it internationally. Part of their effort to integrate the ecommerce experience into the main business may require a reorganisation of the roles and responsibilities of the company’s top management team, which may be reflected in the decline seen in international expansion as retailers turned their attention to strengthening their internal structure.”

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