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E-commerce Edge Helps British Retailers Expand Abroad

By Expert Author: jareldaren

BERLIN/PARIS – Marks & Spencer Plc is creating a new push to expand abroad, hoping e-commerce will give Britain's most significant clothing retailer a greater possibility to succeed than earlier attempts to enter new markets.

It is one of many retailers that are utilizing knowledge developed in the UK's speedy-expanding e-commerce market place to expand overseas. Shop chains like M&S are starting to emulate the accomplishment of on the web-only fashion players like ASOS.

Britain is the world's most developed on the net retail industry, according to a ranking by commercial actual estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, followed by the United States, Germany and France.

M&S withdrew from mainland Europe in 2001 right after a failed expansion. The retreat was temporary. In March the firm stated it would use "bricks and clicks" - opening new shops in a handful of markets even though providing on line sales in a number of more - to accelerate development abroad.

"Since we sit in the UK we at times overlook how sophisticated the UK is," said Laura Wade-Gery, M&S e-commerce executive director.

Though the United States is the greatest e-commerce industry by absolute turnover, internet orders make up a larger portion of total retail sales in Britain - about 11 % in 2013 to 7.three percent in the United States, Euromonitor information shows.

Britain's leadership position in e-commerce has been driven by its compact size - which make delivery far more cost-helpful - along with its comparatively higher world-wide-web penetration.

Retailers are looking for to ship far more goods to shoppers abroad, a drive the British government is supporting to diversify exports from a heavy reliance on finance. It launched a plan last year to aid 1,000 retailers break into international markets by 2015.

Consultants OC&C say UK retailers are beating domestic competitors overseas due to wider decision, better costs and quickly and reliable delivery. They predict overseas on the internet sales by British retailers will jump to 28 billion pounds ($47 billion)by 2020 from just 4 billion in 2012.

"You can go quite a extended way with a single warehouse serving the globe," stated OC&C companion Anita Balchandani. "We really should feel fairly confident about the prospects for a nation of shopkeepers with an advantage in the digital globe."

International Market Place

M&S is investing 1 billion pounds on logistics, IT and systems. It launched a new web platform in February and is ramping up a new distribution center in central England to fulfill all on line orders.

It hopes that will aid reverse nearly a decade of marketplace share decline at dwelling and pay dividends abroad as it targets a 25 % boost in international sales in the subsequent three years and a jump of 40 % in overseas earnings.

After its retreat in 2001, M&S began a tentative return to the international stage in 2011 when it opened a store on the Champs Elysee in Paris and launched a French-language web-site.

The move is aspect of Dutch Chief Executive Marc Bolland's tactic to turn the British group into an international "multi-channel" retailer, reaching buyers via shops, the internet and mobile devices.

Credited with turning about grocer Morrisons, Bolland took over at M&S from Stuart Rose in 2010.

M&S grew international sales by a third in three years to account for 10 percent of the 10 billion pounds ($16.82 billion) 2013 total and extra than 15 % of operating profit.

Bolland's "bricks and clicks" mantra requires opening stores in prime areas to publicize the brand, complemented by on the web sales from local-language web-sites.

The attempt to meld stores and online presence is best illustrated in Bolland's birthplace, the Netherlands, where M&S launched a Dutch website and "e-boutique" store in Amsterdam final year that allows shoppers to browse the full variety of clothes on life-size digital screens and then order on the internet.

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