With the world’s developed markets universally on the skids there has been much talk among retailers of expanding into new growth markets.

Retail growth in the developed world.

Some have done so while others have been all mouth and little action. But what is interesting is just how many large retailers now have internationally experienced executives in the driving seat.

In the US, Wal-Mart has Mike Duke who was previously the head of its international business and is intent on boosting the retailer’s exposure to overseas markets.

At home in the UK it is the same story at Tesco where in-coming CEO Philip Clarke has been running the group’s overseas business for some years.

Philip Clarke: expansion overseas, just like that.

Among the other large retailers Morrisons has Dalton Philips as its new-ish CEO who cut his teeth in Canada working for Loblaw. And at Marks & Spencer we have Marc Bolland who before his stint at Morrisons gained great international experience at Heineken where he worked in various countries.

He has also recently stated his intention to take M&S back overseas with India and China under serious consideration. But even if retailers have no intention (at the moment) of venturing overseas it looks to be the height of fashion for a merchant of substance to have a globe-trotting CEO at the helm.