Purpose - Many retailers are expanding throughout Europe, while it is well-known that large differences still exist between the European countries. This paper aims to explore to what extent the historical expansion sequence patterns of retailers operating across Europe are driven by cultural factors. Design/methodology/approach - The paper derives a cultural map of Western Europe based on data of Hofstede and Hall. Three important cultural clusters are identified. Next, this study investigates the expansion sequences of nine big EU- and US-based fashion-clothing retailers across those three cultural clusters. Findings - The results show that initial expansion typically takes place in a neighbor country belonging to the same cultural cluster. Subsequent expansion tends to follow a stepwise cluster-by-cluster pattern, where retailers make cluster jumps, first expanding in the same cluster, but already move to another before the first is completed. Practical implications - For US/Canada-based retailers as well as for European-based retailers it is crucial to fully recognize the differences between European countries, but it is very useful to consider their similarities too. Dividing the European market into clusters of countries seems to be a pragmatic way of handling differences and similarities. This information can help managers to make better decisions on entry sequences in foreign markets. Originality/value - To the authors' best knowledge, this is the first study analyzing the complete international entry sequences, i.e. both the initial and subsequent entries of retailers in Western Europe, from a national cultural perspective.

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doi.org/10.1108/09590550610675958, hdl.handle.net/1765/63443
International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management: incorporating retail insights
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Waarts, E., & van Everdingen, Y. (2006). Fashion retailers rolling out across multi-cultural Europe. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management: incorporating retail insights, 34(8), 645–657. doi:10.1108/09590550610675958