Nicholas Alexander's (2011. British overseas retailing, 1900–60: International firm characteristics, market selections and entry modes. Business History, 53, 530–556) survey of British overseas retailers from 1900 to 1960 provides pathbreaking new evidence of international retailing activity during the first globalisation boom. The article surveys this and other recent evidence, and confirms that international retailing was far more significant up to 1929 than previously thought. This activity was overwhelmingly undertaken by non-retailers, however, and hence by multinationals whose advantages in retailing were fundamentally unsustainable over the long run. Even the department store format, the principal retail innovation of the period, was not internationalised primarily by multinationals. Rather it was diffused via indigenous entrepreneurs, driven by a rapidly growing global demand for western style fashion and dress.