Strategy and opportunism in European retail internationalization

John A. Dawson

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


Europe in recent years has witnessed an increase in the amount of cross-border operations by retailers. The retail sector has undergone substantial structural change characterized by the emergence of a group of rapidly-growing large retailers, a redefinition of the balance of internalized and externalized functions and a need to respond to the cultural variety present in Europe that becomes evident as retailers move out of their domestic markets. The over-arching requirement for these large retailers is to grow and gain scale economies. Internationalization of operations has become a requirement for these large firms. It is argued that the established academic conceptualizations of internationalization are unsatisfactory in not addressing this overriding requirement for growth. There is great variety in the international activity in retailing, with the absence of pattern being one of the few generalities. It is proposed that consideration of opportunism may be a better way to gain understanding of retailer activity than trying to fit activity into deterministic strategic models. The experiences of five West European retailers entering and building retail networks in Poland is provided as evidence for this view. Suggestions are made for future work exploring this issue of opportunism as a process in international retailing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-266
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2001
Externally publishedYes


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