Liz Hamson
Leading UK and international suppliers see global retailing as a threat to business now ­ but an opportunity in the long term.
This was the surprise outcome of a survey carried out by the IGD and unveiled at the organisation's Global Retailing Conference this week.
The survey of leading names in the sector revealed that more than half believed globalisation would currently have an adverse impact on business because of the competitive clout of international players, the lack of price transparency and common trading standards, and the threat of parallel imports.
But in five years' time, more than 80% of those surveyed thought that the most serious issues would have been resolved.
Establishing a global account management structure would be vital to minimise the threat, they said.
IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch said: "Despite the twists and turns on the way, there is a global future ahead.
"We believe that the exit of players from difficult markets and subsequent consolidation will result in a handful of true global retailers emerging.
"The current challenge of pricing and terms will need serious scenario planning ­ global account management relationships will be key and it is critical for suppliers to identify tomorrow's winners today."
Asked to name their top retailers, suppliers praised Carrefour for the scope of its international expansion, Tesco for its core strength and level of consumer understanding, and Wal-Mart for the scale of its domestic growth.
The suppliers they thought were responding most effectively to global competition were P&G and Coca-Cola at the top of the list, Nestlé in third place and Unilever, Danone and Kraft in joint fourth place.

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