The internationalisation of supermarkets and the nature of competitive rivalry in retailing in southern Africa
In the past two decades, southern African countries have experienced rapid growth and spread of supermarket chains. This paper assesses the internationalisation of supermarkets and potential reasons for the uneven outcomes seen in different countries in the region.
Several factors account for the spread, including rising urbanisation, increasing per capita income, greater economies of scale and scope, and more efficient procurement and distribution systems. However, the current literature does not adequately consider the importance of culture, proximity to suppliers and impact of policy objectives of national governments on the success of supermarkets in host countries, especially in developing countries. It also does not consider the nature of competitive rivalry between supermarkets and how this affects internationalisation.
This paper highlights the importance of these factors in understanding the outcomes in selected southern African countries.