In Napoleon's day, the English may well have been kings of the retail trade, but the crown in the 21st century for the European country with the most successful retail brands goes elsewhere, according to Interbrand's Best Retail Brands 2014.
Yes, it's the shopkeeping Swedes who have the Top 2 places, with H&M and IKEA, two brands that have rather more in common than their provenance.
Spain takes third place with Zara, while even Napoleon's country of origin beats the Brits with Carrefour in fourth place - and the French have two other retail brands in the top 10. Britain occupies the 5th and 6th spots with Tesco and M&S respectively, but the future doesn't look too rosy for either of these brands, with double-digit year-on-year declines in value (-16% and -14%). One has to look much further down the table to find the relatively small star of British retail - John Lewis at position 39, growing by 36%.
Given the size of the country, Germany is not particularly well-represented in the retail world, with Aldi popping into the Top 10 at number 10. But that may well change, especially with Lidl showing healthy growth of 15%.
For the meantime, though, the Swedes are Top of the Shops.
P.S. The advertisement above is from my grandfather's shop!