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Internationalization in Grocery Retail: Much Ado About Not Very Much

Posted: 10 Sep 2010  

Marcel Corstjens

INSEAD - Marketing

Rajiv Lal

Harvard Business School

Date Written: September 9, 2010


We find that internationalization in the grocery sector has steeply increased over the last 15 years, but is still surprisingly limited. Although internationalization has a number of undeniable advantages for grocery retailers, our statistical analysis shows that the degree of internationalization is not a significant driver of profits nor of growth for grocery retailers. This suggests that internationalization should be developed differently or that other, more profitable growth strategies exist for grocery retailers. We provide a typology of such strategies and identify ‘weightless brand ownership’ as a promising underexploited profitable growth opportunity for grocery retailers.

Suggested Citation

Corstjens, Marcel and Lal, Rajiv, Internationalization in Grocery Retail: Much Ado About Not Very Much (September 9, 2010). INSEAD Working Paper No. 2010/67/MKT. Available at SSRN:

Marcel Corstjens (Contact Author)

INSEAD - Marketing ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
Fontainebleau, 77305
(33) (0)1 60 72 40 00 (Phone)
(33) (0)1 60 74 55 00/01 (Fax)

Rajiv Lal

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-1257 (Phone)
617-496-5637 (Fax)


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