Delhaize: The Four Drivers Of Internationalization

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In the sixties the food sector was booming. Delhaize was one of the pioneers in the Belgian market by opening its first fully self-service supermarket in 1957 in place Flagey, inspired by the American model of distribution. Other distributors started to copy Delhaize in terms of store format (400 m) and in the concept of self-service (with pre-packaged meat and frozen foods); the era of traditional store with service at the counter was over. Every players in the market understood that they had to find the best places for their stores to compete effectively. The area of competition in the Belgian market quickly became crowded and intense. In 1974, Delhaize took its first step of internationalization by entering the US market. He progressively acquired market shares in US and continued its internationalization process by entering Southeastern Europe in the early 1990s, and the Indonesian market in 1997. In this section we will try to understand the pressures that pushed Delhaize to internationalize. George Yip provides a framework to analyze the “globalization drivers” that are most likely to influence a company’s decisions to expend its business internationally. The four drivers of internationalization that he identified are: market drivers, cost drivers, government drivers and competitive drivers. Market drivers According to the annual report 2001 of Delhaize, the company’s desire was to strengthen its position as an international player in the food distribution sector.

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