Retailing in Europe: diversity and convergence of retail-trade structures
Living standards, consumption habits, and differences in cultural, economic and legislative environments are responsible for the contrast in retail-trade structures in the European Union and for the diversity of customer expectations. In Southern Europe, markets are more fragmented than elsewhere and the proportion of specialized food outlets remains very high. Eastern Europe recorded the highest growth in sales between 2000 and 2006. By contrast, sales growth was more subdued in the five largest markets: United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. The trade structure of Eastern European markets is steadily converging toward that of Northern and Southern European countries.