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EU vs USA: How The Marketplaces Rank

Eu_vs_usa_1The NYTimes reports on a new Swedish study that shows if European Union members were states in the USA, they would belong to the poorest group of states, on par with Arkansas, Mississippi and West Virginia. France, Italy, Great Britain and Germany have lower GDP per capita than all but four of the states in the United States.

The report (Adobe Acrobat required), published by Stockholm-based research company Timbro, complains that too many European policymakers and voters seem to be divorced from reality. While they publicly state their desire to enjoy the same luxuries and welfare benefits as Americans, there simply isn't the impetus to pursue stronger economic growth policies.

My view is that mall companies like The Mills Company and Westfield, through their European operations, have a unique inroad into a historically state-controlled political minefield. U.S. retailers like Brookstone are able to use their existing relationships to speed their time to launch. Countries like France, the UK, and the Netherlands have seen how this model spurs consumption in the short term, and helps develop exportable retail concepts like Zara and Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) in the medium term. This "colonization" approach enables success stories to be developed and then replicated.

The study appears to disproportionately favor Scandinavian countries. In late March, another study from KPMG noted that when disposable income was adjusted for cost of living, Scandinavians were actually the poorest people in Western Europe.

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