经济学人双语版-超市跳步 Aisle and hopper

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FlyTitle: Global retail

International expansion is a mixed bag for big retailers

国际扩张对大型零售商而言好坏参半

WHEN COSTCO, an American discount retailer, opened its first store in Shanghai this August, huge crowds of shoppers forced managers to shut it down. The world’s 250 biggest retail chains are present in ten countries on average and get about a quarter of revenues from international operations. Expansion into foreign markets looks like a no-brainer for retailers, then?

美国折扣零售商好市多(Costco)去年8月在上海开设了首家门店,开业当天由于人流量过大而不得不暂停营业。全球250家最大的零售连锁店平均在十个国家开展业务,国际业务收入约占总收入的四分之一。如此看来,对零售商而言,向国外市场扩张似乎是件不需要思考的事了?

Not so fast. Many firms’ foreign revenues have been tepid (see chart). Last month Tesco was reported to be considering the sale of its 2,000 stores in Thailand and Malaysia. Since 2013 the British supermarket chain has folded its unprofitable Chinese operations into a state-run firm, unwound a $2bn foray into America and exited South Korea and Turkey. Germany’s MediaMrkt and America’s Best Buy, big electronics retailers, and Home Depot, an American home-improvement giant, all flopped in China. In June Carrefour, a French supermarket chain, said it would sell 80% of its Chinese business. Even Walmart, the world’s largest company by revenue, has found foreign expansion tough. It retreated from South Korea and Germany in 2006, and in 2016 said it would close 269 stores worldwide.

且慢。很多公司的海外收入一直都不温不火(见图表)。上月,有报道称乐购(Tesco)正在考虑出售它在泰国和马来西亚的2000家门店。2013年以来,这家英国连锁超市将其无利可图的中国业务卖给了一家中国国营企业,放弃了亏损20亿美元的美国业务,退出了韩国和土耳其。德国的MediaMrkt和美国的百思买(Best Buy)这两家大型电子产品零售商,以及美国家装巨头家得宝(Home Depot)都在中国失利。去年6月,法国连锁超市家乐福表示将出售其中国业务80%的股权。就连全球收入最高的沃尔玛在海外的扩张之旅也不无艰难。它于2006年撤出韩国和德国,在2016年表示将在全球关闭269家门店。

经济学人双语版-超市跳步 Aisle and hopper

Foreign revenues help insulate firms from downturns in domestic markets. But global retailers face nimble local rivals overseas, who often understand consumer preferences better than foreigners do. Foreign ventures do not always offer refuge from domestic competitors, either. Walmart paid $16bn in 2018 for a majority stake in Flipkart, a loss-making Indian e-merchant, hoping to profit from serving India’s rising middle class. Instead, it is battling Amazon for their custom.

海外收入有助于隔离国内市场低迷的影响。但是,全球零售商在海外面对的本地竞争对手灵活敏捷,通常比外国企业更了解消费者的喜好。海外业务也不是总能帮助企业躲避国内竞争对手的威胁。沃尔玛在2018年以160亿美元的价格收购了亏损的印度电子商务公司Flipkart的多数股权,希望能通过服务印度日渐扩大的中产阶级获利。但现在它却得和亚马逊争夺这些客户。

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