Internationalization is one of the most important trends in retailing today. This process is not new, however has accelerated in the last two decades. It was less than 30 years ago that almost all of the world’s retail firms were pure national firms with a negligible share in foreign markets. That scenario has changed dramatically. Taking a look at the top 200 global retailers, almost all players except those in the US operate in numerous countries, having established a noteworthy business capacity in foreign markets. It is observed that retailers often export their business model in new markets. Therefore they are regarded as driving forces of structural change in the agri food business. The understanding of retail internationalization is essential to the understanding of the changes in the agri food business. Investigating retail internationalization many scholars builds on the theories of the wider business internationalization literature. Other authors state that retailing is unique, therefore the business theories can not be applied. By reviewing the literature we try to overcome this tension and discuss how business internationalization theories can help to understand retail internationalization.