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Globe Trotting

Where will your brand take you next?



Among the resource tools on my desk is a “Comparative World Atlas” that I bought for a college geography class. Today, this book does little more than sit there, reminding me of how much has changed. And I’m not only talking about my career path, but the world at large. I hope that retailers have a more updated version in their hands – along with a current passport. Because you need it.

In researching this month’s global trends piece, I found that designers and retailers across the board agree: International store locations are no longer a nice-to-have, they’re a necessity.

As the North American market continues to recover, Gap, Smashburger, Krispy Kreme, Levi’s, Domino’s and Doubletree Hotel are outlining international expansion plans for the next few years. Others, including Staples, McDonald’s and Starbucks, are bolstering growth plans with international staff appointments.

“Emerging markets are good opportunities for growth,” says Hana Ben-Shabot, a partner at A.T. Kearney (New York) and co-author of the firm’s annual Global Retail Development Index study.

And it’s not just the BRIC countries that are getting all the action. A.T. Kearney’s study identifies 30 emerging markets eager for new brands in these new lands. (See page 30 for VMSD’s exclusive report.) In this issue, we also offer a quick look at South Korea in our monthly Two-Minute Tour (see page 10). Retail designer Bruce Barteldt, partner, Little (Charlotte, N.C.), even proposed putting a “K” on BRIC to truly reflect South Korea’s importance in the global landscape. “There’s a thirst for all things Western,” says Barteldt.

But like many designers, he cautions retailers from thinking that their regular old formats will satiate that desire in South Korea, or anywhere else on the world map. In Brazil, where Little has worked with several brands, Barteldt says there’s a “Brazilian way,” that relates to the lifestyle and pride in the country’s cultural heritage. “Understanding the nuances of behavior will be a competitive edge,” he adds.


With everyone’s eyes focusing on a global perspective, it’s fitting that this year’s International Retail Design Conference requires a passport to attend, as VMSD heads to Toronto October 13-15. For three days, we’re giving you the chance to network and learn with the industry’s biggest names and thought leaders. (For schedule and registration details, visit It’s a tradition we started 10 years ago to help you keep up with this ever-changing world. I look forward to seeing you there!



MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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