Even if their stores are entirely domestic, many retailers have been buying goods fromforeign countries for a longperiod,most often throughagents andwholesalers of various kinds. Recently, more ‘direct sourcing’ operations have been set up. Companies are trying to apply the lessons theyhave learneddomestically about the advantages of closer relations with suppliers and of control of their supply chains,
Chapter 3 has these issues. In addition, as some large companies have developed store operations in several countries, there have recently been some interesting examples of attempts to extend the advantages of their large buying power, by sourcing some products centrally to supply several countries. The most notable example is Wal-Mart but there are others. For example, look in Part III (Chapter 13) at the interesting comments from Steve Gilman, international director for B&Q, about the way his organization is beginning to supplyEuropean stores frommanufacturers inChina. Tesco, similarly, is looking to supply European stores from its new Asian supply network. Roland Vaxelaire in Part III (Chapter 18) has some interesting comments about the pros and cons of this activity for the UK.