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Retail’s Hottest Emerging Markets

Global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney takes an annual look at which emerging markets are ripe for retail expansion.

Its study ranks the top 30 emerging countries and grades them on many factors, including an assessment of country risk, population size, wealth as well as the country’s current retail saturation.

With anemic growth in the U.S. and Europe, retailers realize that global expansion is more important than ever. This has prompted retailers to search the globe for untapped consumer markets.

“While the world’s largest developing markets — particularly the BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India, and China — still tempt the largest global retailers and show no signs of slowing down as a source of growth, many smaller untapped markets are providing new growth opportunities,” A.T. Kearney’s report says.

The firm’s research uncovered growing potential in such countries as Georgia, Oman, Mongolia and Azerbaijan, which all made their debut on the list.

The emergence of these newer markets as well as the Arab Spring uprisings, which hurt the rankings of a number of countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa, led to a shake-up in the rankings. Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia all slipped. However, several countries in the region remained high on the list and continue to be attractive markets for retailers.

“Given the accelerated growth rates of developing countries compared to the anemic growth in European and North American markets, global retailers must have a strategy for expansion into developing markets,” said Michael Moriarty, A.T. Kearney partner and co-leader of the study. “In the past five years, U.S.-based Wal-Mart, France-based Carrefour, U.K.-based Tesco and Germany-based Metro Group saw their revenues in developing countries grow 2.5-times faster than in their home markets.”

Click ahead to see which countries are the most attractive for retail expansion.

By Christina Cheddar Berk,
Posted 12 June 2012


Country rankings are from A.T. Kearney’s 2012 Global Retail Development Index. Population and GDP per capita data are from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook.

Photo: Jerome Favre | Bloomberg | Getty Images