Identifying the characteristics of small specialist international retailers

Karise Hutchinson (Department of Business, Retail and Financial Services, Ulster Business School, University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK)
Barry Quinn (Department of Business, Retail and Financial Services, Ulster Business School, University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Publication date: 17 May 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to examine the internationalisation process of small, specialist retailers with the aim of identifying the key characteristics that define this specific category of international retailer.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative case studies of nine UK‐based small international retailers, coupled with interviews with government and consultancy organisations, form the empirical basis of the work.

Findings

The findings highlight five characteristics of small specialist international retailers: possession of a strong company brand image/identity with luxury/middle market appeal; niche strategy; dual strategy of expansion; ownership characteristics defined either by the founder or parent company; and vertical integration from manufacturing to retailing.

Practical implications

With the increasing internationalisation of retail operations, the specialist sector comprises a significant number of retailers operating in international markets or contemplating the move into the international marketplace. The findings of the current work highlight the key factors that characterise those small specialist firms that operate outside their domestic market.

Originality/value

The paper identifies the key characteristics that define a significant category of international retailer, hitherto unexplored in the literature.

Keywords

Citation

Hutchinson, K. and Quinn, B. (2011), "Identifying the characteristics of small specialist international retailers", European Business Review, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 314-327. https://doi.org/10.1108/09555341111130272

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below

You may be able to access this content by logging in via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.
If you think you should have access to this content, click the button to contact our support team.