The last decade has witnessed an acceleration of retail foreign direct investment into a range of emerging markets across East Asia, Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America, led by a small cohort of food and general merchandise retailers from Western Europe, and to a lesser extent, North America. While these investment flows have had profound developmental impacts in host economies, research in this area is still in its infancy. This article therefore maps out a detailed research agenda with respect to the host economy impacts of transnational retailing. After setting the scene empirically and conceptually, the article considers different dimensions of these impacts on retail competitiveness, supply chain dynamics, consumption practices and consumer/civil society, institutional and regulatory frameworks and, reciprocally, on the retail transnational corporations themselves. It concludes by calling for a concerted interdisciplinary research effort into this important and understudied aspect of economic globalization.