Contact Practice Director

Richard F Wolff
Director of International Retail Expansion

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    Richard F Wolff discusses the
    international practice at Javelin Group

International Expansion (Retail and eCommerce)

We develop and implement international retail store, ecommerce and omni-channel expansion plans which include: retail market planning, retail market entry strategies, retail offer development and retail operational planning.

We deliver practical and achievable international retail expansion strategies and operational plans, across all retail channels, with appropriate implementation support. Our approach typically supports four phases of international retail expansion:

1 International retail advance planning: Which markets? Priorities?

We assist executive teams evaluate the global opportunity and select target countries with appropriate research and retail market analysis:

  • Compare retail markets via a balancing scorecard approach to assess where the best opportunities lie, based on the ‘accessible’ size of the opportunity and the relative ease of entry, brand synergy with local consumers and potential competitive strength.
  • Consider local legal, cultural, geographical and technological barriers/costs that may impact imports, retail development and proposition delivery. Are these barriers prohibitive to running a successful operation?

2 International market entry strategy: Which models? Which channels? Size of opportunity?

We support the development of bespoke market entry strategies. We complete detailed market entry studies and retail audits of prioritised countries to determine:

  • Market positioning, localised assortment and pricing strategies.
  • Operating model selection (licensing, concession, franchise, joint venture, outright ownership).
  • Appropriate retail channel mix (stores, ecommerce or both).
  • Geographic retail store roll-out required (no. of stores, key cities & venues).
  • Necessary ecommerce localisation and channel integration.
  • Realistic sales opportunity and growth trajectories.
  • Our recommendations are underpinned by an understanding of management’s appetite for risk and capital investment.

3 International expansion operational planning: What capabilities? Where must invest? How to execute?

We develop the implementation solution working closely with management:

  • Understand system enablers for chosen models, channels and markets.
  • Define supply chain, logistics, customer service processes and infrastructure required.
  • Outline ownership structure, governance and identify appropriate partners.
  • Demonstrate the business case and financial plan.
  • Construct international roadmap including pragmatic implementation steps.
  • We also offer on-going support throughout the implementation process.

4 Optimising growth and profitability of international retail: Network optimised to deliver scale?

We develop the implementation solution working closely with management:

  • Longer term business planning in new territories to ensure economies of scale and optimised profitability are achieved.
  • Identifying local hubs to grow the business into surrounding territories to ensure you optimise your international network.

Across the four phases we deliver clear assessment of the opportunity in international markets, develop a detailed business strategy with well-defined priorities, optimised routes to market and direction on investment and implementation required to enable international expansion.

We have completed a range of projects for leading retailers and brands at different stages of international development. This is one of the fastest growing areas of our business and some recent engagements include:

  • M&S international multi-channel strategy
  • M&Co, C&A international ecommerce market selection
  • Brown Shoe Company ecommerce strategy in China
  • Timberland multi-country business operating model planning
  • Ecco best practice franchise operating model
  • Debenhams international organisation structure

Please contact Richard F Wolff or call (0)20 7961 3200 to discuss your requirements.

Case Study

Strategic evaluation of key “distributor" markets across 61 countries

Timberland operates with 28 “distributor” partners in 60+ countries globally. Within these countries, 208 stores are standalone, 124 stores are corners, 24 are outlets and 8 are sub-franchises.

Timberland required a strategic evaluation of key “distributor markets” to determine:

  • In which markets should Timberland take ownership of distribution?
  • Which business development channels should be prioritised in each (concession, franchise, JV, owned)?
  • What is the size of the opportunity in each market?


  • Javelin Group built a strategic prioritisation scorecard that examined each country in terms of its potential across a number of market and business operation indicators (e.g. market size and urbanisation, market growth, market affluence and modernisation, cultural fluidity, ease of setting up wholly owned operation).
  • Javelin Group also identified strategic bundles of countries that could easily be run from a ‘lead’ country, thus increasing the relative attractiveness of those individual markets.
  • Timberland is now acting on these strategic recommendations.
  • Javelin Group has also advised Timberland on its Greece strategy following the severe downturn in that market.
"Javelin Group played a key role in helping re-define our expansion strategy for emerging markets. The team delivered focused strategic insight and practical recommendations in a collaborative and personal manner."

Richard O’Rourke, Senior Vice President, International, Timberland LLC.

Case Study
Brown Shoe Company

eCommerce strategy for accelerating expansion in China

Brown Shoe Company is the second largest footwear company in the USA and required a detailed review of the Chinese retail market to determine:

  • Strategic direction on how to accelerate expansion in China
  • Role of ecommerce alongside growing store estate
  • Size of ecommerce opportunity and organisational impact


  • Javelin Group delivered a detailed assessment of the ecommerce market size & maturity, key local differences and the future role of multi-channel
  • Developed a clear channel strategy defining the role and mix of channels for expansion
  • Examined sales projections and investment requirements
"We commissioned Javelin Group to help us think through our ecommerce strategy in China. As we are in the early phase of execution it was important to develop clarity around the approach. Javelin Group was able to leverage its ecommerce expertise which combined with solid research gave us great insight in to how best to move forward with focus and confidence. We are very pleased with the outcome of this project."

Tim Heard, Senior Vice President, International, Brown Shoe Company.


"Javelin Group helped us with our international strategy, short-listing the best markets and planning the right ecommerce and multi-channel approach in each case. They helped us understand the main operational and technical requirements and the likely investment and ROI implications. This was good work by our joint team, much aided by Javelin Group’s multi-disciplinary team and approach."

Laura Wade-Gery, Executive Director of Multi-Channel eCommerce, Marks & Spencer.

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