Retailers can take years to formulate overseas expansion plans. However, for some, all that is needed is a little lubrication.

Speaking at the BRC International Retailing Conference last week, Mamas & Papas deputy chief executive Tim Maule said that his plan was devised after knocking back some whisky, while Hotel Chocolat founder Angus Thirlwell admitted that St Lucian rum may have played a part in his strategy.

Neither has experienced any hiccups, so perhaps all retailers should raise a glass to overseas expansion.