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Structural change and globalisation of the German retail industry


  • Wortmann, Michael


This paper gives an overview of current developments in German retailing. It describes structural changes in the companies, which include changing formats at shop level, the vertical integration of wholesale and retail activities, and processes of horizontal concentration. Using the example of grocery discountters, it investigates the evolution of a business model which is apparently incompatible with the traditional German production model. Subsequently the paper looks at the relationships between trade and production, where on the one hand concepts of lean retailing will be examined and on the other changes in the division of labour, which we see in the increased significance of private labels. At the same time, we observe an intensified twofold process of internationalisation. While retailers are internationalising their own operations through the setting up or acquisition of outlets and distribution systems abroad, they are also increasingly globalising their sourcing, The emerging global value chains, which are largely controlled by retailers, show highly differentiated patterns of configuration and co-ordination.

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  • Wortmann, Michael, 2003. "Structural change and globalisation of the German retail industry," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Internationalization and Organization SP III 2003-202b, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbint:spiii2003202b

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tewari, Meenu, 1999. "Successful Adjustment in Indian Industry: the Case of Ludhiana's Woolen Knitwear Cluster," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 1651-1671, September.
    2. Paul Dobson & Roger Clarke & Stephen Davies & Michael Waterson, 2001. "Buyer Power and its Impact on Competition in the Food Retail Distribution Sector of the European Union," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 247-281, September.
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