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The internationalisation of retailers favours French exports

The saturation of domestic markets compared to the growth of emerging markets has led retailers to internationalise their activities. This phenomenon has a knock-on effect on food exports from the country of origin to host countries. In view of the high degree of internationalisation of French retailers, this is a real advantage for the agri-food sector.

Supermarket checkout. © INRA, SLAGMULDER Christian
Updated on 11/18/2013
Published on 11/18/2013

Retailers are setting up shop in emerging countries

The past ten years have seen an acceleration in the installation of  retailers outside their countries of origin.  The openness and growth of markets, and also changes to consumption modes - particularly in emerging countries where  retailers were still scarce ten years ago - go to explain this phenomenon.  In this context, French distributors have been particularly successful because they now achieve more than 40% of their sales outside France.  Alongside their German counterparts, they are now among the leading actors in  retailing throughout the world; in 2010 stores from these two European countries accounted together for half of the turnover of retailers in other countries.

The internationalisation of retailing has a positive effect on exports from the country of origin

Scientists have shown that the establishment of new retailers in other countries has a positive and significant impact on the trade in food products between the host country and the country of origin, in terms of both value and quantity.  This effect is far from being evident, because the great majority of food products sold by retailers are of domestic origin (approximately 70%).

An opportunity for French agri-food companies

This link constitutes a competitive advantage for French exports, particularly since French retailers have become established in markets that are particularly dynamic in terms of demand: 45% of their foreign sales are achieved in emerging or developing countries.  They account for 66% of sales by retailers in Brazil, 46% in China and 22% in Russia.
Retailers are often criticised in France for the pressures they exert throughout the agri-food sector.  But when these brands become international, they constitute a significant advantage for the export of French agri-food products.

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