Despite tough economic conditions, revenues for the world’s 250 largest retailers reached $4.3 trillion* in the last fiscal year (June 2012 through June 2013). The average size of the top 250 retailers exceeded $17 billion according to the 2014 Global Powers of Retailing report from Deloitte in conjunction with STORES Media.
“The global retail industry got off to a difficult start in the last year,” said James Babb, Clients and Industries leader at Deloitte Middle East. “However, it is encouraging to see that the world’s leading retailers were able to plough on through the difficult period to reap the rewards of increased consumer spend. This has served to provide a much needed boost to global revenues with nearly 80 percent of the top 250 (199 companies) retailers posting an increase in retail revenue. Interestingly, for the first time this year’s report shows that some of the top retailers undertook a series of sell-offs in order to remain profitable and ride out the tough trading period,” Babb added.
Divestments lead to a shake-up of the top 10 global retailers
There was a shake-up among the world’s 10 largest retailers last fiscal year, mostly as a result of a series of divestments. As a group, the top 10 grew more slowly than the top 250 the past fiscal year with retail revenue growth of 4.2 percent versus the 4.9 percent growth in the previous fiscal year. While Wal-Mart increased its lead, Carrefour—formerly the world’s second-largest retailer—fell to fourth place following back-to-back years of declining sales primarily attributable to the spinoff of the Dia hard discount chain in July 2011. Tesco, which jumped this year to second place, was also impacted by discontinued operations after shuttering its Fresh & Easy operations in the United States.
Emerging markets enjoy strong demand while Europe increases dependence on foreign markets
Retailers based in emerging markets continued to enjoy strong consumer demand in fiscal year 2012. Unlike the headwinds retailers in mature markets faced, emerging market tailwinds continued to fuel aggressive organic growth. Emerging market retailers accounted for more than half (26) of the world’s 50 fastest-growing retailers in fiscal year 2012 including all four Russian top 250 companies, six of seven Africa/Middle East retailers, and six of nine based in Latin America.
“Over recent years, the developing economies have emerged as one of the most promising retail markets,” said Babb. “Latin American retailers led the way with 15 percent retail revenue growth followed by retailers in the Middle East/Africa region at 13.5%. Retailers are successfully adapting their strategies to adequately cater to the growing middle-class consumers in emerging economies where there is strong demand for consumer goods, ranging from cars and electronics to personal care products.”
“Moreover, in Latin America and Africa/Middle East, strong growth continued to yield above-average profitability. In 2012, Latin America retailers produced an industry-leading 4.9 percent net profit margin, and retailers in the Africa/Middle East region realized a 7.2 percent return on assets,” added Babb.
European retailers faced another year of tough trading as the region fell back into recession when austerity measures, put in place to cope with the Eurozone credit crisis, resulted in low growth and high unemployment in many European countries.