U.S. apparel retailers' international expansion: an application of the Uppsala model.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Hyeon Jeong Cho (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Byoungho Jin

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to elucidate U.S. apparel retailers' internationalization by proposing a theoretical framework that incorporates the antecedents of U.S. apparel retail firms' international market involvement and investigating the effects of international activities on firm performance. Data were collected via a self-administered questionnaire completed by U.S. apparel retailers nationwide. A total of 81 usable questionnaires were collected based on Dillman, Smyth, and Christian (2009)'s Mixed-mode Survey technique. The respondents were predominantly small firms (n = 76, 93.8%) that had fewer than 500 employees. Of these 81 firms, 30 firms currently sell their products or services outside the U.S. market. The first international market for half of the firms was Canada and more than half the firms had attained their first international sales via online (n = 16, 53.3%). Measures were assessed using a 7-point Likert-type scale, a dichotomous variable, and continuous variables. A series of regression models were performed to test all hypotheses. The results indicated that apparel retailers who have more foreign networking are likely to have market knowledge about foreign markets. Firm age and market knowledge (i.e., firm-specific factors) were found as significant factors in categorizing companies as being either involved or not involved in the international market of the apparel retail environment. The results further revealed that market knowledge mediates the relationship between foreign networking and international market involvement. The findings also indicated that although the effect is weak, apparel retailers that expanded internationally at younger ages are likely to demonstrate better firm performance in foreign markets compared to their counterparts. Firms who have had longer experience in foreign markets reveal better firm performance than firms who have had shorter experience in foreign markets. This study contributes to the growing knowledge base about retailers' international expansion in the apparel industry and fills a gap in the literature about the U.S. apparel retailers' international expansion. The findings can provide information related to the specific status of U.S. apparel firms' current internationalization process and serve as useful references to U.S. apparel companies that consider their growth opportunities to include internationalization. The findings and limitations of this study suggest some interesting directions for future research.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
U.S. apparel retail firms, International expansion, Uppsala Model
Clothing trade $x Economic aspects $z United States
International trade

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