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International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

Lessons learned from the worlds best retailers


Stephen J. Arnold
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Stephen J. Arnold, (2002),"Lessons learned from the worlds best retailers", International Journal of Retail & Distribution
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(2003),"Five secrets from the worlds best retailers: Lessons from Ahold, Benetton, Carrefour, Home Depot, IKEA and Wal-
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Introduction
Lessons learned from I teach a course titled Global Retail
the world's best Management. One half of the readings pacKage

retailers
comprises articles from the retail
internationalisation literature. he other half
Ssephew . Rrwold comprises case studies of retailers who conduct
business beyond their home borders. his part
of the course is instructive because it is not
sufficient for retailers today to be successful
only in their home, domestic marKet. LiKe elite
athletes who enter Olympic and World Cup
competitions, retailers who leave home marKets
pit themselves against the worlds best and get
better. Among the retail competitors that we
study, there appears to be a small group of six
The author retailers who consistently reach the winners
tephen J. Arnold is a PrOfessOr at the 7chOOl Of podium and who lead us to looK for
Business, Queen's University, KingstOn, 0ntariO, Canada. commonalities. What do they do that maKes
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them medal winners? What best practices and


Keywords techniques do they follow that we might apply
in our own endeavours? What lessons can be
Retailing, 0rganizatiOns, 0rganizatiOnal culture,
learned from the worlds best retailers?
InnOvatiOn

Abstract
World's best retailers
The wOrld's best retailers AhOld, BenettOn, CarrefOur,
HOme DepOt, IKEA and Wal-Mart reflect several The competitors
cOmmOn characteristics: inspiratiOnal leadership, a How does one select a list of retailers to study?
mOtivatiOnal OrganisatiOnal culture, innOvativeness, Ensuring diversification across retail
adaptability and cOnsumer and cOmmunity relevant categories is appropriate because it suggests a
behaviOurs. broad applicability of any lessons learned.
hus, the retail categories covered in the
Electronic access course include frequently purchased food and
non-food products (Wal-Mart, Carrefour,
The research register fOr this jOurnal is available at
http:llwww.emeraldinsight.comlresearchregisters
Royal Ahold, MarKs & Spencer), home
improvements and do-it-yourself items
The current issue and full text archive Of this jOurnal is (Home Depot), home furnishings (IKEA),
available at clothing apparel (Benetton), toys (oys R
http:llwww.emeraldinsight.coml0959-0552.htm Us), cosmetics (Avon, Body Shop) and
convenience goods (P-Eleven Japan).
Sales volume was another indicator to taKe
into account when selecting a global set of
retailers to study. According to the Chaiw
Ssore Rge December SOOO issue, volume
ranKings are Wal-Mart (lst), Carrefour
(Snd), Home Depot (th), Ahold (lOth),
P-Eleven Japan (S9th), MarKs & Spencer
(4lst), oys R Us (48th) and IKEA (POth).
In selecting a set of global retailers to study,
one is also influenced by Neil Wrigleys
identification of the elite NCs a small
InternatiOnal lOurnal Of Retail & DistributiOn Management group of transnational corporations each
VOlume 30 . Number 11 . 2002 . pp. 52570
g MCB UP Limited . I77N 0959-0552 pursuing growth strategies. Wrigleys list is
D0I 10.1108/09590550210449412 comprised of Wal-Mart, Carrefour, Ahold,
52
LessOns learned frOm the wOrld's best retailers InternatiOnal lOurnal Of Retail & DistributiOn Management
7tephen l. ArnOld VOlume 30 . Number 11 . 2002 . 52570

esco, Metro, Casino, Auchan, Delhaize and retailing. Beyond apparel, it is vertically
Costco. integrated into the commodities of its
manufacturing operations and has diversified
The wimmers into fashion accessories, sports, real estate
After studying the elite NCs and the other and other investments.
retailers on the course reading list, it was
evident certain retailers stood out from the
rest. Sales volume, growth, number of stores, Carrefour
number of countries and longevity were
influential criteria, as was their position relative Carrefour (http://www.carrefour.com) deserves
to others in their retail category. Moreover, to be on the podium because of its second place
each succeeded where others failed and ranK in terms of world sales (69. billion euros
typically innovated in some aspect of global for the fiscal year SOOl). It is in first place in the
retail management. On the basis of these extremely competitive and mature European
factors, it was apparent that six retailers stood marKet and leads in nine of the 3O countries in
above the rest: Ahold, Benetton, Carrefour, which it competes. Carrefour was created in
Home Depot, IKEA and Wal-Mart. l99 and has been in the international area
since l969. It has more than 9,SOO stores
including hypermarKets, supermarKets and
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Ahold hard discount formats. It innovated with the


hypermarKet format in France in l963 where it
KoninKlijKe Ahold/Royal Ahold (http:// introduced the idea of one stop shopping for
www.ahold.com) is on the winners podium food, clothing, electronics, appliances, etc.
because of its top ten position in terms of Although it does not compete in the USA, it
annual sales (SOOl worldwide sales of Euro has adapted successfully to Latin American and
66.6 billion) and its presence in S8 countries Asia marKets.
throughout North America, Europe, Latin
America and Asia. It also deserves recognition
because of its success in the tough US marKet Home Depot
that accounts for percent of its sales. Ahold
employs over 4O,OOO people who worK in Fifth-ranKed in terms of worlds sales,
9,OOO supermarKets, hypermarKets, specialty Home Depot (http://www.homedepot.com)
stores, discount stores, cash-and-carry and has been the leader in the development of the
convenience stores. It also supplies wholesaler home improvement/do-it-yourself (DIY)
and Internet services as well as foodservice retailer. It has also served as the model for
operations. Its history traces bacK to l88P other home improvement retailers such as
when Albert Heijn started selling groceries and B&Q. Founded in l9P8 in Atlanta, Georgia,
other products in Zaandam. Home Depot is the worlds largest home
improvement retailer currently operating
l,4S9 stores, including l,S88 Home Depot
Benetton stores, O EXLO Design Centers and one
Floor Store in the USA. It has the smallest
Benetton (http://www.benetton.com) belongs international presence on our winners list with
on a list of the worlds best retailers for several 83 stores in Canada, seven in Luerto Rico and
reasons. Started as a family business in l99, eight in Mexico. Home Depot reported net
it is today the most globally diverse on our list sales for fiscal SOOl of $3.6 billion and
with over ,OOO stores in lSO countries. Its employs approximately SO,OOO people.
SOOl sales volume is S.l billion euros or
about l percent of the largest volume retailer
on the list, Wal-Mart. Benettons IKEA
controversial advertising uniquely defined
Benetton and served to differentiate its IKEA (http://www.iKea.com/default.asp) sales
offerings in the extremely competitive apparel are ll.3 billion euro for fiscal SOOl or about
business. It is also well Known for its percent of those of Wal-Mart. Its presence is felt
technological advances and the introduction in 3l countries on five continents through more
of the one brand/no franchise approach to than l6O stores averaging l6,OOOsq.ft in size.
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Its top five countries in terms of sales are now includes Argentina, Brazil, Canada,
Germany (Sl percent), USA (l3 percent), UK China, Germany, South Korea, Mexico,
(lS percent), France (9 percent) and Sweden Luerto Rico and the UK. He also expanded
(P percent). Its status as a worlds best retailer is the Supercenter concept domestically.
evidenced by impressive growth over the past he leader at Benetton was founder
decade with about 8O percent of its sales from Luciano Benetton. Similar to Sam Walton,
Europe and l6 percent from North America. Luciano Benetton seemed to recognise and
Mainly, it is the worlds largest furniture retailer attract individuals with innovative ideas. For
and sells everything from tables, booKcases and instance, Liero Marchiorello brought the one-
beds, to pictures frames and toys. Ingvar brand, one-product shop idea to Benetton
Kamprad founded IKEA in l943. that at the time in l963 was unKnown in Italy.
In l98S, he met Oliviero oscani who
convinced Luciano that Benetton ought to
Wal-Mart promote itself as a lifestyle rather than as a
clothing product. In l983, Benetton recruited
At $SSO billion in sales, Wal-Mart (http:// Aldo Lalmeri who introduced modern
www.walmart.com/cservice/aw_index.gsp) is management structures and methods to the
not only the worlds largest retailer, but also family firm. Finally, Benetton selected the
the worlds largest company in terms of total shop owners who would sell the Benetton
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sales. It is active in ll countries and has stores products exclusively on the basis of personal
in North and South America, Europe and Knowledge and individual capability and that
Asia. It has over 4,4OO stores, of which three they had the right spirit.
quarters are in the USA and that still account Home Depot founders, Arthur BlanK and
for 8O percent of its growth. It has been Bernie Marcus, are credited with turning a no-
marKed by consistent annual growth since frills, hangar-sized home improvement Atlanta
incorporation in l96S. store into its current top ten positions in global
sales and Forsuwe magazines Most Admired
companies list. At the basis of their leadership
Lessons learned was an ability to get a message across as well as
the energy to inspire a pumped-up corporate
Despite their differences in retail category and culture. New CEO Robert Nardelli exhibits a
origin, a number of similarities are apparent similar energy and has been described as
among these six global retailers. Each of the hitting Home Depots cement floors running
retailers demonstrates inspirational [and] sending the sawdust flying.
leadership, a motivational organisation IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad exhibited
culture, an entrepreneurial and innovative leadership by challenging the existing practices
spirit, relevance to customer needs and of traditional Swedish furniture retailers. His
relevance to their community. A furniture dealers testament (in oreKull,
l998) explains the IKEA way to all employees
Imspiratiomal leadership and, as the title implies, inspires a near
Sam Walton, Wal-Marts founder, had a religious adherence to these practices.
natural self-confidence that served to promote At Carrefour, founders Marcel Fournier
this retailer to its employees as well as its and Denis Defforey and their families set the
customers. He motivated by example with stage for a company that would be
hard worK and a competitive and ambitious entrepreneurial and growth oriented. odays
nature. His employees or associates CEO, Daniel Bernard, continues that
appreciated worKing with him because of his tradition and has led Carrefour for the past
responsiveness to their ideas. He was decade through the opening of stores in Italy,
committed to his associates and them to him. urKey, Mexico, Malaysia, China, hailand,
oday, a decade after his passing, he lives on Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Loland,
to inspire current employees with his words Chile, Colombia, Indonesia and Japan.
about customers, community and associates Significant leadership was also exhibited in
lining the bacK rooms of stores and the pages the merger of Carrefour and Lromodes, the
of company literature. his was evident in acquisitions of chains Felix Lotin, Catteau
Waltons successor, David Glass, who led Wal- and 8 Brazilian supermarKets, taKing a
Marts growth into the international arena that controlling interest in Comptoirs Modernes,
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7tephen l. ArnOld VOlume 30 . Number 11 . 2002 . 52570

acquiring staKes in GB, Norte, GS and he aim of IKEA is to eliminate excessive


creating the GlobalNetXchange. levels of management with a very flat
Cees van der Hoeven has been president organisation. It has the effect of giving more
and CEO of Ahold since l993. He joined responsibility to each co-worKer who
Ahold in l98. Under his leadership, Ahold learns by doing and who is instilled with a
expanded their US supermarKet presence that sense of pride and purpose. Responsibility is
began in l9PP. o BI-LO, Giant Food also assumed earlier and most managers are in
Stores, Finast and ops MarKets Inc. their mid-3Os. Open management
supermarKet chains, he added Red Food characterizes IKEA.
Stores, Mayfair, Stop & Shop, Giant Food Common to Wal-Mart, Home Depot and
Inc., Leapod Inc., Golden Gallon, Sugar Ahold is the identification of employees as
CreeK, US Foodservice, LYA/Monarch, associates, implying more a partnership
LarKway Food Service, Alliant Foodservice than a hierarchy. Servant leadership is also
Inc. and Brunos SupermarKets, Inc. Joint apparent where it is understood that if you
ventures and acquisitions were also taKe care of the people in the stores, they in
completed in Singapore, hailand, Malaysia, turn will taKe care of the customers. his is
Indonesia, China, Brazil, Spain, Loland, most apparent in Home Depots inverted
Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Leru, Laraguay, pyramid (Figure l) with customers and sales
Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa associates at the top supported at subsequent
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Rica, Spain, he Netherlands, Belgium, levels by store managers, regional managers


Sweden and Norway. His tenure also and top management. Carrefour allows
included the introduction of new Internet, employees to build a career according to their
financial and logistics systems including own motivation.
Albert Heijns distribution system that Retail by its nature entails long hours and hard
guarantees store delivery within l8 hours. worK. However, fun and celebrations and
tangible rewards in the form of profit sharing
Motivatiomal orgamisatiomal culture and the purchase of company stocK at a discount
Common to these worlds best retailers and a maKe it easier. he ritual morning cheer also
consequence of their leaders is a motivating serves to energize Wal-Mart associates for
organisational culture that empowers store another day. Similarly, cheers and sKits at Home
managers and front-line employees. For Depot maKe for a more enjoyable day.
instance, decentralised decision maKing is an he culture of the retail organisation is
important feature of Aholds management and institutionalized through formal training and
a basis for IKEAs leadership in its industry. reinforced in company literature and everyday
Giving Wal-Mart store managers enough practices. Wal-Marts Guiding Lrinciples
flexibility to respond to nearby competition state such axioms as We go out of our way to
with lower prices and to the local community instil a strong sense of community involvement
through the appropriate charity gives them in our store management and associates so
not only authority, but also a sense of theyll be even better citizens. he eight
ownership. Similarly, the Wal-Mart Home Depot Core Values emphasise such
department head Knows own sales, margins things as service, people, respect, relationships,
and profits and acts as if he or she were giving bacK and doing the right thing.
running their own shop.
Home Depot has been described as having Figure 1 HOme DepOt's inverted pyramid
a people friendly culture and believes its
associates are more empowered than higher
managers because they are empowered to
maKe important decisions at the ground
level. It has a decentralized approach to the
company organisation and believes every
person hired should worK on the floor for
experience. Even the company directors are
expected to visit SO stores every year. A 36O-
degree management appraisal maKes relevant
the opinions of all organisational levels.
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LessOns learned frOm the wOrld's best retailers InternatiOnal lOurnal Of Retail & DistributiOn Management
7tephen l. ArnOld VOlume 30 . Number 11 . 2002 . 52570

Carrefour emphasises that their employees store formats. Everything is possible is


share values of integrity and honesty. he Aholds opportunistic view of marKet selection.
IKEA way is institutionalized through the IKEAs three main principles were
essawews of a Furwisure Resailer bible. themselves innovations in the furniture retail
Benetton also facilitates self-empowerment category: self-service with appealing and
but on the basis that most of the people who informative catalogues, disassembled
produce and sell for Benetton are self- furniture that is re-assembled by the
motivated individuals. Hundreds of sub- customers and a cash-n-carry concept for
contractors perform Knitting, assembly and suburban stores. Innovativeness is also a Key
most of the finishing and account for about to IKEAs advertising and promotion. For
PO percent of the production process. At the instance, it was among the first companies to
retail end, fewer than O of the ,OOO retail feature gays in a V ad.
outlets are Benetton owned. Individuals who Benettons advertising has been even more
typically run five or six stores own the rest. pioneering. Rather than illustrating its
Even the agents who deal with the retailers are products, the advertising copy featured images
independent entrepreneurs and one of their related to important social issues such as
most important functions is finding new racism, AIDS, war and poverty. For example,
retailers who fit the Benetton culture. with only the United Colours of Benetton
As these retail organisations expand beyond logo to identify the advertiser, startling
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home borders, these principles and values photographs championed racial equality.
serve to guide the employees in the Innovation is not new at Benetton and has
appropriate conduct, not unliKe early been evident from their beginnings in l9. For
missionaries who had only their faith to guide instance, a l96Os discovery for dyeing fully
them in their conduct. assembled sweaters enabled a more rapid
response to changes in fashion and customer
Immovative, adaptable, emtrepremeurial demand. In the l98Os, a worldwide state-of-the-
amd opportumistic art information technology system was added.
An outcome of the empowering organisational oday, Benetton operates a complex system of
culture is the ability of these retail OO sub-contractors and joint ventures
organisations to continuously experiment, specializing in design, cutting, assembling,
innovate and adapt. At Carrefour, continuous ironing and pacKaging. With the emphasis on
innovation and adaptation were two of the automation and continuous modernization,
main goals of the founders and were quicKly Benetton can produce and deliver just-in-time,
apparent in the development of the original fashion-driven garments to any of their thousands
hypermarKet store format. of independent retail outlets in the world within
Home Depot founders Marcus and BlacK ten days of orders being taKen. Additional growth
believe their success is based on a culture that is expected with their directly operated stores
is agile and flexible enough to change expected to number lOO by SOO4.
directions as quicKly as events demand. he As these retailers expand into other world
rules are changed to maKe the operation more marKets, this characteristic provides the
efficient and the entrepreneurial bundle is ability to adapt rapidly to local conditions.
promoted to maKe everyone more inventive. Carrefours ability was evident in the success
he early adoption of information of stores developed uniquely for aiwan and
technology by Wal-Mart, and so important to very different from the stores bacK in France.
its success, was done in spite of its expense and
the frugal nature of its founder. Another Customer relevamt
example of innovation from Wal-Mart is the An empowering organisational culture maKes
worKing through 4O concepts and l4 formats store employees responsive to customer needs
before the Supercenter store format appeared and the local community. Carrefour presents
in its final form in the early l99Os. Completely itself as dedicated to listening to and focusing
contrary to this large l8O,OOOsq.ft format is the upon the customer. According to Aholds Fritz
recent development of the 4O,OOOsq.ft Ahiqvist, Locally, our product lines are
Neighborhood MarKet store format. flexible and adaptable to individual customer
At Ahold, supermarKets are customized on a requirements, as are our store formats. Home
store-by-store basis and ongoing Depots founder Arthur BlanK states that by
experimentation is carried out with different doing business on the customers terms, we

5
LessOns learned frOm the wOrld's best retailers InternatiOnal lOurnal Of Retail & DistributiOn Management
7tephen l. ArnOld VOlume 30 . Number 11 . 2002 . 52570

will continue to enhance our leadership results of 4S surveys conducted mostly in


position in the industry . . . Everything is done North America between l9PO and l99P by
for the customer. Sam Walton stated ... our igert and Arnold where retail store shoppers
total objective should be to serve our were asKed for the most important reason why
customers every time they are in our store and they shopped at the store where they shopped
maKe their shopping experience enjoyable. most often. he results varied across retail
Remember, they are our guests. category but between lO percent and O
he concept of the customer as a guest has percent of the respondents mentioned a
many implications. A guest is greeted and having convenient location, lO percent to 8O percent
the same store greeters day-after-day creates mentioned low prices, percent to 33 percent
recognition, familiarity and a feeling of comfort. mentioned good assortment and percent to
Hosts are concerned about the comfort of their S percent mentioned good service. Similarly,
guests and offer assistance (Wal-Marts lO foot best value, good sales, largest assortment and
rule) if the guest seems uncertain. Similarly, convenient location were the top four ranKed
the host does not want to inconvenience their reasons for choosing a fashion apparel store
guests and will ensure a speedy passage through (see able II).
checKout by using a combination of sufficient Low prices are a common feature among
staff and fast technology. Finally, a good host the worlds best retailers. IKEAs objective is
wants their guest to be completely happy and to offer a wide range of well-designed,
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satisfied. As Carrefour states: All our efforts are functional home furnishing products at prices
geared towards customer satisfaction. IKEA so low that as many people as possible will be
offers immediate satisfaction and a pleasurable able to afford them. It is able to do so by
shopping experience. following a global strategy of cost leadership.
When retailers listen, the customers needs Supplier costs are reduced through long
for everyday, frequently purchased products product runs and volume production.
are universal: greater convenience, lower LacKing the disassembled items in boxes that
prices, appropriate assortment and good facilitate shipping, storage and handling
service. For instance, able I summarises the reduces distribution costs. Self-service in the

Table I Range acrOss surveys in a retail sectOr Of the sample prOpOrtiOns mentiOning a reasOn as being mOst impOrtant in chOOsing the stOre shOpped
mOst Often
Low priced Traditional
Retail dept. dept. Warehouse DIYlhome Fast Major
fooda stores stores clubs improvement food ports Electronics appliances Computers
(No. of surveys) 6 4 7 9 7 4 2 1 1 1
Reason % % % % % % % % % %
Location 34-54 29-37 32-41 1- 32-51 14-32 35-4 9 9 8
Price 12-22 19-25 7-14 5-82 9-21 7-17 10-1 29 14 21
Assortment 5-13 15-21 12-25 3-10 9-22 1-3 1 35 32 35
Quality 3-15 2-4 -1 0-2 2-13 5-7 8-9 5 15 3
ervice 3-7 2-4 0-10 -9 11-18 4-7 9 24
Value 0-3 2-3 2-3 0-2 1-3 2 3 3 5
ales promos 0-4 4-11 2-1 1-2 1 1 3 1
Warranty 0-5 1-2 3-4 4 10
Layoutlfind 4-7 0-4 1-5 2 2 3
Environment 2-4 0-4 1-7 2-9 2-3
Familiarity 0- 0-1 1 2
Cleanliness 1-5 2-11
Credit card 0-2 0-3 0-2
Fashion 0-3 1
Buy in bulk 10-22
Tastelflavour 18-23
a
Note: AcrOss the six surveys cOnducted in the retail fOOd sectOr, the prOpOrtiOns mentiOning cOnvenient lOcatiOn as the mOst impOrtant reasOn fOr
chOOsing the stOre shOpped mOst Often ranged frOm 34 tO 54 percent
ource: Adapted frOm ArnOld et al. (1997)

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7tephen l. ArnOld VOlume 30 . Number 11 . 2002 . 52570

Table II Average rankings fOr chOOsing fashiOn stOres other fixed costs are spread over a larger base.
Being global is increasingly a Key to success,
Average
Reason rankinga
according to Aholds Cees Van der Hoeven,
because with greater size, it can spread the
Best value for money 4.1 fixed cost of technology. In sum, retailer total
Good saleslmarkdowns .3 costs are lower and can be passed on to
Largest assortment .4 consumers in the form of price rollbacKs.
Easiest one to get to 7.3 Lrices are lowered and the circle continues.
Highest quality fashion is 7.9 Benetton would be less characterized by
Lowest prices 8.1 low prices than the other retailers mentioned
Best current, contemporary, up-to-date women's wear 8.4 here although up to 4O percent of total
Best quick and easy checkout 8.4 revenue originates with the end-of-season
Best returninglexchange 8. sales periods and it practices an effective
Best basic, conservative everyday women's wear 8.8 cost cutting discipline. Instead, it offers
Best ''classic'' wear 9.3 convenience by blanKeting a new marKet with
Best enough salespeople 10.1
several shops offering Benetton products.
Best casual weekend wear 10.1
Similarly, it offers the appropriate assortment
Most knowledgeable, helpful clerks 10.5
in an environment of rapidly changing fashion
Very latest, most fashionable women's wear 10.8
because of its technically advanced
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Most exciting displays 13.2


production and distribution system. It offers
Best fashion advertising 14.2
colourful, high quality, design-driven
Note: aRanking is based On a 1 tO 17 scale where 1 was the stOre products. An even greater assortment is
characteristic mOst impOrtant and 17 was the latest impOrtant
characteristic. The sample cOmprised 1,70 ChiacgO female respOndents
offered at its megastores, expected to number
4OO by SOO4.
ource: Chain 7tOre Age (199, 7ectiOn three, p. 11B)

Commumity relevamt
stores reduces employee wages. An essential Responding to the community as well as
element of the corporate culture is to economic needs of its customers is another
continually seeK more cost effective ways of common element of the worlds best retailers.
running the business. IKEA worKs with the Forest Stewardship
Sam Walton recognised that low prices Council and uses only wood from sustainable
drive volume and that the total gross margin sources. It was the first furniture company in
with low prices can be greater than if the the world to offer a chlorine-free catalogue.
products are sold at higher prices. Not only Beyond product related community support,
are more units sold, but also lower unit costs IKEAs social mission has led it to build
are negotiated with vendors because of the schools in Vietnam and Madagascar. It also
greater buying power. hat is, low prices not started with the World Health Organisation a
only maKe a difference to a significant vaccination program for l3.3 million children
segment of consumers, but it affects retailer under five years of age.
costs as well. Home Depot considers that its
Carrefour identifies these effects and one responsibilities extend to the communities
other effect as part of the virtuous circle we serve and the environment in which we
(Figure S). he third virtue beyond the first live. Store associates worK on
and second virtues of larger volume and lower neighbourhood building projects of their
purchasing costs is that overhead and many choice, store managers taKe the lead when
natural disasters striKe, suppliers ship
Figure 2 CarrefOur's ''virtuOus circle'' merchandise on reusable and recycled pallets,
steps are taKen to eliminate products coming
from endangered forests, in-store lighting is
reduced for energy-conservation purposes
and how-to clinics empower customer do-
it-yourself projects.
Benetton believes consumers are as
concerned about what the company stands for
as they are about the value of the products.
hus, Benetton is Known for its advertising
58
LessOns learned frOm the wOrld's best retailers InternatiOnal lOurnal Of Retail & DistributiOn Management
7tephen l. ArnOld VOlume 30 . Number 11 . 2002 . 52570

that raises consciousness of the victims of banner that identifies a majority of their stores
racism, AIDS, war, violence, pollution and around the globe. Lrivate label brand
capital punishment. A l993 campaign development also seems to be another
resulted in the donation of 46O tons of clothes commonality.
that were re-distributed worldwide. What is distinctive, however, about the
Carrefour sees itself as developing more characteristics identified above is the people
environmentally sensitive products and orientation of the worlds best retailers. In
reducing the impact of stores activities. Since every one of the worlds best retailers, there
l994, it has operated a waste management have been leaders who inspired their
and water and energy conservation policy. organisations through significant periods of
LacKaging policy has emphasized weight innovation and growth. hese individuals also
reduction, recycling and the elimination of created or grew an organisational culture that
environmentally risKy substances. Site audits attracted talented individuals and motivated
include environmental considerations. them as managers and employees to be
In the area of corporate social entrepreneurial, innovative, adaptive and
responsibility, Ahold has increased its efforts opportunistic. In turn, these store
in the last two years. One example is the low associates made customers their first
energy superstore at their Stop & Shop chain priority and offered them the products they
in Massachusetts. he Ahold US companies wanted, at the lowest prices, as conveniently
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also raised funds for the victims of the as possible and with gracious service. he
September ll tragedy. Disco provided aid to leaders, managers and associates of these
the victims of Argentinas economic leading retailers also recognised their role as
downturn. he Global Food Safety
corporate citizens in their surrounding
Initiative advanced global standards for
communities and contributed accordingly.
safer food.
In other words, it doesnt matter what the
Community support includes patriotism.
retailer sells or where they locate. Success
Wal-Mart emphasises national colours in
originates with individuals who motivate
store signage and checKouts. Red, white and
others in the organisation to be innovative in
blue in the USA is replaced by red and white
maKing customers and their community their
in Canada and red in China. A sign hanging
top priority.
in a Home Depot store headlines that it is
Helping to build the Canadian dream by
creating over 4,OOO Canadian jobs, is
official sponsor of the l998 Canadian References and further reading
Olympic eam and is proud to offer some of
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the finest brands made in Canada. prOspects fOr the UK'', InternatiOnal Marketing
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''0rganizatiOnal legitimacy and retail stOre
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ArnOld, 7.l., Handelman, l. and Tigert, D.l. (1998), ''The
on global retail management could be more impact Of a market spOiler On cOnsumer preference
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Chinese retailers.
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