NEW YORK — The superior ability of North American stores to generate cash flow has put their shareholders in a better position to benefit from both an economic upturn and continuing consolidation than those of their overseas competitors.

That was the conclusion of the first segment of a study of 500 public retailers worldwide conducted by KPMG, the accounting and tax firm, in conjunction with Oxford University’s Templeton College. While the first part of the project focused on the relative market performance of stores, the second, expected to be concluded before the end of the year, will attempt to shed light on the reasons behind the differences in performance.

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