U.S. retailers, preparing for big growth offshore, say they plan to continue sourcing displays from North American woodworking and fixture firms. 

U.S. Fixture Firms Gain as Retailers Plan for Export Retailers with big brands like Calvin Klein, Gap and Levi's, have set their sites on expanding in dynamic Asian and Middle East markets. Levi's now operates 630 stores in China.

To maintain visual integrity and marketing consistency, brand owners like to control the retail display. For many companies, it is an integral part of their product positioning in the eyes of consumers.

Foreign expansion applies not only to consumer product firms, but also to retailers like Wal-Mart, Starbucks and Abercrombie & Fitch.

Of retailers surveyed by the Assn. for Retail Environments (the former National Assn of Store Fixture Manufactueres), 68 percent say they are expanding rapidly abroad. And 67% of respondents say they depend on North American vendors to source fixtures, displays, and other products and services for international projects.

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A.R.E. says 69 percent of its members ship retail projects outside North America and 39 percent expect growth in this area. Store fixture firms like idX and and Showbest Fixtures have established international resources and expertise tohandle the demands of U.S.-based clients pursuing global markets.

Among the findings of A.R.E.'s reports on U.S. retailers:

- 37% surveyed say they are expanding more rapidly internationally than in North America.

- 31% say their expansion is evently split between international and North America.

- Larger chains (those over 1,000 locations) are more likely to expand more rapidly internationally than in North America.

- Over half (69%) of retailers say they work with North American vendors when they source fixtures, displays, and other products and services for their international locations.

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