Size isn’t everything. Then again, as anyone who forked out £15 to watch David Haye on Saturday night will tell you, a good big’un beats a good littl’un. Especially if the smaller chap is nursing a sore toe.
The Grocer last week revealed how Premier Foods came a cropper after attempting to throw its weight around with Tesco. It found, as Adam Leyland noted in his Editor’s Comment, that bulk doesn’t always translate into power.
Of course, even Tesco is dwarfed by Walmart, more than four times the size of the UK’s largest retailer. And that gap could be set to grow over the next few years. The Grocer’s inaugural Global Top 50 Retailers report, published this week using data from Kantar Worldpanel, found Walmart well placed to plunder sales from developing markets.
With the launch of its Walmart Express format, as well as the Netto deal, the focus on smaller formats has been obvious. That’s due to what one analyst calls the ”structural decline in hypermarket traffic at large stores”. And closer to home, Waitrose also believes small is beautiful. Today it announced plans for 20 more ‘Little Waitrose’ stores in London.
While domestic growth for the UK’s top retailers is all about filling gaps in a mature market, making a go of it abroad is all about understanding the idiosyncrasies of foreign retail cultures.
Any successful strategist knows which battles to fight, and which to duck. Saturday showed what happens when ambition outstrips reality and you bite off more than you can chew.