The Top Retailers Operating In The Most Countries

By U Cast Studios
May 21, 2024

The Top Retailers Operating In The Most Countries
Image Courtesy Of Visual Capitalist
This treemap shows the top retailers operating in the most countries in 2023.

 

Today, international expansion is a key growth strategy for the world’s top retailers as companies target untapped markets with the highest potential to drive revenue and profit streams.

This article was written by Dorothy Neufeld and originally published by Visual Capitalist.

While traditional retailers have sought out digital strategies as the industry evolves and consumer behaviors change, physical storefronts continue to be a dominant driver of retail sales. In 2023, brick-and-mortar sales comprised 81% of retail sales globally.

This graphic shows the top retailers operating in the most markets worldwide, based on data from the National Retail Federation.

Global Retailers With the Largest International Footprint

Here are the global retailers with the widest-reaching presence around the world in 2023:

Ranking Retailer Number of Countries of First-Party Operation Headquarters
1 H&M 68 🇸🇪 Sweden
2 IKEA 51 🇳🇱 Netherlands
3 Inditex 45 🇪🇸 Spain
4 Decathlon 34 🇫🇷 France
5 Carrefour 32 🇫🇷 France
6 Sephora (LVMH) 31 🇫🇷 France
7 Schwarz Group 30 🇩🇪 Germany
8 Fast Retailing 27 🇯🇵 Japan
9 Euronics International 25 🇳🇱 Netherlands
10 Apple 25 🇺🇸 U.S.

Notably, eight of the top 10 companies with the widest market reach hail from Europe.

Fast-fashion giant H&M ranks first overall, with 4,454 stores across 68 countries last year. In 2023, the Swedish company earned $21.6 billion in revenues, with its largest markets by number of store locations being the U.S., Germany, and the UK. This year, it plans to open 100 new stores in growth markets, along with shutting down 160 stores in established locations, ultimately decreasing its global store count.

In second is IKEA, with a presence in 51 countries. Last year, the company expanded its footprint in India, launching its first store in the tech hub, Hyderabad. While the company has a broad international reach, its number of storefronts is a fraction of H&M, at 477 total stores worldwide.

Looking beyond the continent, Japan’s Fast Retailing is the top retailer in Asia, operating in 27 countries globally. As the parent company to fashion brand Uniqlo, it also stands as the seventh most valuable listed firm by market capitalization in the country.

Additionally, Apple is the sole American company to make this list, with storefronts in 25 countries. Overall, the company operates four types of retail stores: regular, AppleStore+, flagships, and flagship+. Regular stores often earn $40 million annually, while flagship+ stores typically earn more than $100 million.

By 2027, the company plans to build or remodel 53 stores globally, with the majority located in the U.S. and China.

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