Lebanon

For any business owner or executive who has spent years contemplating international expansion, now is undoubtedly starting to feel like the right time to act. The media is abuzz with stories about the global economy and technology advancements make it seem easier than ever to reach burgeoning new markets. It's true that markets are opening up and there's enormous potential for retailers that make the right decisions about online content and lead generation, but easy? International expansion isn't easy, even in the age of online retail. Growing beyond borders requires the right mix of people, knowledge and technology.

In the final part of this two-part series on the "20-Plus Things to Watch in Retail” section of JWT's Retail Rebooted report, I discuss 12 of these 20-plus things, including the mobile-powered consumer, shopping hotels and variable pricing. In part one, I discussed 10 trends contained in the report, including 3-D printing, alternative brand currencies and click-and-collect shopping.

A report released by A.T. Kearney showed that Brazil is once again first among developing countries for global retail expansion. A.T. Kearney’s Global Consumer Institute’s 2012 Global Retail Development Index (GRDI) ranks the top 30 developing countries for global retail expansion. Brazil, which topped the list for the second year in a row, was followed by Chile, China, Uruguay and India. Botswana (No. 20) entered the GRDI ranking for the first time, signaling regional growth and the future of Africa as a significant consumer market.

Amazon.com has begun its hiring ramp up, with about 50 management positions on the docket currently. The online retail giant, which is opening distribution sites in Lebanon and Murfreesboro, Tenn., is hiring managers in operations, facilities, human resources and other areas, according to the company. This marks an initial swath of hiring on the way toward more than 1,500 jobs. 

American Eagle Outfitters recently opened stores in three new international markets — Morocco, Jordan and Egypt. The retailer opened its store in Jordan at the Taj Mall on Nov. 30; the Morocco store opened in Casablanca at Morocco Mall on Dec. 1; and the Egypt store opened in Cairo’s City Stars Mall on Dec. 10.

Italy-based fashion brand Etro recently opened its newly relocated London flagship store, according to www.wwd.com. Housed in a former art gallery on London's Bond Street, the two story, wood-paneled space spans 6,450 sq. ft. The new store is a cross between a grand aristocratic home and a luxe nomad’s tent, with oil portraits lining the walls, colored Venetian chandeliers in the changing rooms, and Art Deco furniture and light fixtures from the South of France. The store also features the building's original walnut paneling, marquetry and marble fireplaces, as well as skylights and a tiny cupola in the entranceway.

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