Strategy Practice

International Retail Strategy

Javelin Group helps retailers and brands to plan, implement and optimise their omni-channel strategies to accelerate international retail growth.

The specialist skills of our team across the retail value chain, from source to customer, enables us to deliver a differentiated approach.

We deliver clear strategic direction and practical advice for retailers and brands who are embarking on international retail for the first time, as well as those with existing international operations.

Our approach typically supports three phases of international retail expansion:

international retail diagram


1. International retail market prioritisation: Which markets? Priorities? New vs. existing?

We help retailers and brands to evaluate the global opportunity and select or re-evaluate target countries through bespoke research:

  • Compare retail markets to assess where the best opportunities lie, based on the ‘accessible’ size of the opportunity and the relative ease of entry
  • Critical to the market evaluation is our unique insight into the key drivers of success in individual markets and the challenges retailers and brands have faced

2. International omni-channel retail market entry: Which models? Which channels? Size of opportunity?

We support the development of tailored market entry strategies drawing on our deep omni-channel expertise. We complete detailed market entry studies for prioritised countries to determine:

  • Market positioning, localised assortment and international pricing strategies
  • Operating model(s) selection (licensing, concession, marketplace, franchise, joint venture, outright ownership)
  • Appropriate retail channel mix (stores, ecommerce or omni-channel)
  • Realistic sales opportunity and growth trajectories


3. International retail capabilities assessment: What capabilities? What partners?

We address the operational and organisational requirements to deliver profitable international growth:

  • Understand system enablers for chosen models, channels and retail markets
  • Define supply chain, logistics, customer service processes and infrastructure required
  • Outline ownership structure, governance and identify appropriate partners

4. International retail roadmap: How to execute? Where to invest?

We work with our retailers and brands to develop the international implementation plan:

  • Demonstrate the business case and deliver a realistic financial plan
  • Construct international roadmap including pragmatic implementation steps
  • We also offer on-going support throughout the implementation process


5. International retail operating model development: Future omni-channel approach? How to build profitable scale?

We understand that new international models must develop, as retail markets transform:

  • Re-define optimal retail model(s) for new and existing markets to realise international potential
  • Consider role for digitally-led expansion e.g. pure-play ecommerce, online marketplaces
  • Outline necessary evolution of commercial and operational model to drive sustainable profitability
  • Introduce best practice partnership management

6. International ecommerce optimisation: What localisation drives conversion? Central vs. local management?

We support retailers and brands to review and optimise their international ecommerce performance:

  • Benchmark ecommerce KPIs and customer experience by market vs. best practice
  • Identify critical areas of localisation based on market differences and customer demographics
  • Quantify sales impact of localisation recommendations and outline strategic roadmap

Across the six areas our specialist omni-channel expertise combined with our team’s real life international retail expansion experience delivers robust market assessment, realistic and well prioritised business planning and an actionable implementation plan required to enable international expansion.

We have completed a range of projects for leading retailers and brands at different stages of international retail development.

This is one of the fastest growing areas of our business and some recent engagements include:

  • Marks & Spencer, Debenhams International multi-channel retail strategy
  • White StuffC&A International retail market prioritisation
  • Timberland, Ecco International retail operating model development
  • TM Lewin International ecommerce optimisation
  • Caleres eCommerce strategy in China
  • Majid Al Futtaim Retail franchise and ecommerce opportunities

Please see below for international retail clients, or contact Alice Cowley at or on +44 (0)20 7961 3200 to discuss your requirements.

Contact  Alice
Javelin Group

Contact Practice Director

Alice Cowley

Director, Strategy

Alice Cowley is a Managing Director within Javelin Group’s Strategy practice, leading on Digital & Growth. She has over fourteen years of experience in the retail and consumer sector focused on defining new propositions, channel and market growth strategies for retailers, consumer goods brands and investors. Alice joined Javelin Group after graduating from Oxford University with a Masters in Physics.