Forget all the hype about global retailing. Only one operator is close to achieving that status, claims Safeway boss Carlos Criado-Perez. "Carrefour is probably the only one on its way to becoming a global retailer. The rest, with due respect, are just toddlers. "But can we even call Carrefour a global retailer when they are not operating in the biggest market in the world ­ the US?" Speaking at the CIES management development programme annual conference in Edinburgh, Criado-Perez said retailers looking to go international faced many issues ­ particularly in the area of global sourcing. He said: "Most food needs to be sourced locally. We don't live in a global world. There's no such thing as a global retailer and for there to be one, many things need to happen and a lot needs to change. "The biggest factor is that there's no such thing as a global culture. Even McDonald's are only beginning to scrape the surface." Instead, he said retailers would have to adapt their strategies and corporate cultures to suit local market conditions. And one of their biggest challenges, insisted Criado-Perez, was facing up to the fact that international suppliers were not going to offer global prices. He said even a retailer active in 15 countries could not expect to get the same terms and conditions when it arrived in a new market. "The international supplier will not bow to you in a new country because they will not jeopardise their long-term relationships with existing retailers and distributors. They will not give you what you want ­ not until your critical mass in that local market deserves it. "This is the biggest single factor why Wal-Mart fails to exercise Every Day Low Pricing as a strategy globally. I think this will be the case for a long time." However Criado-Perez also told the audience ­ which comprised young managers from retail and food businesses ­ that he was confident their generation would have the chance to make global retailing a reality. {{NEWS }}