In the annals of the history of business, the L980s will undoubtedly be recorded as the decade of globalization. But like so many other aspects of that hyper-decade, the rhetoric of globalization often out-ran the reality. For the marketer retailer or manufacturer of the 1990s, it is necessary to move beyond the glittering generalities of globalization, and toward a deeper appreciation of the limits as well as the possibilities inherent in any global business strategy. Nowhere is this more TRUE than in the durables marketplace. Manufacturers of audio, video or electro- durable products were among the first to develop global brands. How deeply has the globalization movement penetrated in the durables marketplace? And what are the prospects for its continued advance? More specifically, what does European distribution mean in the durables context? If you are a manufacturer or distributor of audio, video or consumer electro products, understanding what European truly means in the 1990s could spell the difference between success and failure. We all know what the term European used to signify. In the 1980s, the decade of multinational commerce, regionalization and global marketing, no part of the world seemed to exemplify these trends better than Europe. But things have changed, and we have all grown a bit wiser. For today's marketer, the 1990s time for a harsh reality check, a time to move beyond the glittering generalities of globalization and toward a deeper awareness of both the potential and the limits of regional or global business strategies. This reality check is particularly appropriate in the durables marketplace. Manufacturers of audio, video or electro-durable products were among the first to develop pan-European or even global brands. How deeply has the drive for a unified Europe affected distribution in the durables marketplace? What is a European brand? What constitutes a local brand? And what are the prospects for the future? To answer these questions, representatives of Nielsen Europe conducted a complete trade census of the retail trade across 17 European countries. The results are reported in this presentation. This research was supplemented by wide-ranging interviews with retailers and manufacturers of durables products. Two sectors of the retail trade were studied. We began with specialized trade in audio-video-electro goods ranging from CTVs and white goods to small domestic appliances, through chains and independent dealers. Secondly, we studied the sale of batteries, cassettes and other durables products through hypermarkets, supermarkets and other outlets in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods or FMCG distribution network. And I am delighted to be able to share the results of this research with you here today.