Most shoppers have probably heard of Zara, H&M, Uniqlo, Aldi or Lidl, all retailers that ventured into the U.S. after they found success overseas.
Now, the number of international retailers — apparel brands, grocers, cosmetics companies and more — looking to move to America is growing at a rapid clip, industry experts have told CNBC. But making a splash in a new country isn’t easy, even for well-established brands. H&M and Zara, for instance, had to pull back on opening new stores as sales rocketed online and foot traffic disappointed in certain cities. There’s often some trial and error involved, as shoppers’ taste preferences vary by market.
“We see many international retailers reluctant to come to the U.S. [after] you’ve seen big retailers take longer to resonate here than elsewhere,” said David Zoba, chairman of the global retail leasing board at commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle. “It’s not an overnight success.”
Still, there are plenty of brands preparing to make the leap. It’s an opportune time, considering the amount of vacant storefronts and the number of older retailers going bankrupt.
Many of these companies are getting a chance to test the U.S. market by selling goods at a pop-up exhibit called “The Edit” at the Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island, New York. Simon Property Group, the mall’s owner, last month announced the latest round of brands rotating into the space, and all but one came from overseas.
Many international brands are leveraging their e-commerce expertise to generate bigger sales when they finally do move to America. They also tend to operate on the forefront of proven retail trends by opening smaller stores and pushing fast-rotating inventory.
“If you have a unique product or you’re luxury, that’s what has done the best in the U.S.” so far, Zoba said. “I really think the future [of retail] will have more … international brands.”
Here are seven international retailers looking to grow in the U.S.: