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Retail Integration Strategies in the EU: Scandinavian Grocery Retailing

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Until recently, restructuring activity in the EU retail industry has primarily been domestically oriented and focused upon growth opportunities in the retailers' home market. Alongside the on-going harmonization and integration of European markets, grocery retailers have become increasingly interested in cross-border integration activity. Although a salient feature of Scandinavian grocery retailing, this (r)evolution of the industry has attracted only minor attention in academic literature. This paper examines the motives and strategies underlying the intensified integration activity of Scandinavian grocery retailers in general and their integration across national as well as industry boundaries, in particular. The analysis of recent integration events displays a fairly balanced distribution between proactive and reactive motives, albeit the former motive tends to dominate in the case of grocery retailers' integration activity across industry borderlines. Above all, the proactive motive has been apparent in many of the recent partnerships established laterally between Scandinavian grocery retailers and other companies.

Keywords: Retail; cross-border; grocery; mergers and acquisitions; partnerships; strategic alliances

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2004

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