International retailers outlined the key to overseas expansion in developing markets and remained bullish about prospects during the recession.

Speaking at the World Retail Congress, Empik Media & Fashion president and chief executive Maciej Dyjas said: “You need to have deep pockets and you need to be willing to lose and be determined to be international.”

He added: “You need to be very humble and understand the markets where you are going.”

Mango executive vice-president international expansion Isak Halfon added that retailers must “think global but act local” and “not be a prisoner to your own success”.

Komex SA director supervisory board Mark Olbrich said that retailers must ensure their house is in order before attempting overseas expansion in developing nations. “If you go with perceived weakness it will be exposed. Triple-check your P&L and be in for the long haul,” he advised.

Once you understand what you are good at and what is transferable, then you should attempt expansion said Debenhams international director Francis McAuley.

“If it is strategic and not just because international expansion is sexy then do it, but do not distract from your home market and company,” he said.
Teknosa general manager Mehmet Nane urged retailers to ensure they chose the right partner: “Someone who shares your ambitions and will not leave you behind.”

Dyjas added that the economy “is good” for retailers.

Halfon said that costs are lower and negotiations with landlords are easier. He added that retailers will benefit from lower interest rates and transport costs.