Blog: Dean BestNon-food execs give food for thought on D&E markets

Dean Best | 7 May 2009

The recession can all too easily lead to prolonged bouts of navel-gazing among the business community.

However, here in Barcelona, yesterday (5 May) afternoon, a line-up of leading non-food retail executives outlined how the world's developing markets can provide opportunities for business.

And, in highlighting markets like Turkey, north Africa and south-east Asia, they steered clear from focusing on the BRIC markets and shone a spotlight on where the possible "new" emerging markets could be in the years ahead.

There may not have been a food presence among executives from the likes of Mango, Debenhams and Turkish electronics retailer Teknosa but their insight proved useful for those with a vested interest in grocery.

Here are a selection of some of the more notable quotes from yesterday's session on the "new" emerging markets:

"Is international something a bit sexy or is it something the chief executive wants to do. Or is it something strategic?" – Francis McCauley, international director, Debenhams

"Before you go into any international markets, you need to understand what your core competencies are" – McCauley

"In this type of crisis you have to be positive, good things include reduced costs, talks with landlords and lower interest rates. The good chains will survive and the bad ones will die just as Darwin said” – Isak Halfon, executive VP international expansion, Mango.

"You need to have deep pockets and you need to be willing to lose - because, sometimes, you will lose" – Maciej Dyjas, president and CEO, Empik Media & Fashion

"You need to undertake very deep research as to what the market really wants" – Mango's Halfon

"Innovation comes from pressure. People do not innovate because they want to innovate" – Empik's Dyjas

"In terms of products, I see less innovation but in terms of [store] concepts, I see it" – McCauley, Debenhams

"It's good to be the first in, the pioneer. So, once the others get in, there is already some brand awareness" – Mango's Halfon

"The main mistake that retailers make is the self-confidence that they are so good" – Empik's Dyjas

"There are more McDonald's in London than there are in the whole of Poland even though there is four or five times the population in Poland – so there is your opportunity" – Mark Olbrich, director at Komex.


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