Blog: What drives the world's largest retailer's success?

Petah Marian | 1 August 2012

Zara, which opened its first store in 1975, has taken its pioneering fast fashion approach global, becoming the world's largest retailer in the process. 

While Zara has become ubiquitious on high streets around the world, its founder, Armancio Ortega, has remained fiercely private. In the recently released book 'The Man From Zara', Covadonga O'Shea looks to understand the man behind the brand. Here are five strategies that have driven the retailer's success:

  • Zara constantly renews its stock - 40% of stock is changed each week -while stock in the stores is replenished every three days. Each year it offers 20,000 SKUs and and aims for a complete turnover of stock in its stores every 28 days.
  • The company's strategy is to create a climate of scarcity and opportunity in its stores, which means that customers must purchase items they like when they first see them, as the same product is unlikely to be in stock a week later. 
  • Vertical integration means Inditex has much more control over the production of its products. Inditex owns some 99 companies covering not just textiles and fabrication, but also logistics, marketing, construction, real estate, finance and power generation. It produces over 50% of its collections in its own factories and in Spanish and Portuguese co-operatives. 
  • Ortega goes out of his way not to see other retailers' collections to avoid claims of copying. "They can accuse us of plagiarists if they like, but the truth is that among all the great brands, and the not so great ones, there are always areas where they coincide. It might be better to refer to that process of mutual influence as 'inspiration," Ortega reportedly said. 
  • Stores are largely autonomous: managers decide which stock to carry and are responsible for their smooth running. There are six fundamental things that Ortega expects from his stores at a minimum: always wear a pleasant expression, smile at the cash desk, have a pen in the hand, the manager should attend to customers most, the changing rooms are treated as an important point of sale, and in-store staff must be patient.

BLOG

US border tax a contentious issue

Fresh from their disappointment at seeing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal abandoned last month with an executive order by President Donald Trump, the US apparel and footwear sector...

BLOG

Primark's sustainable cotton programme takes shape

With the ultimate aim of ensuring all the cotton in its products is sourced sustainably, value clothing retailer Primark is adamant that having a business model focused on offering the lowest prices o...

BLOG

Trump administration starts to shake up trade

Last week we marked the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States by taking a closer look at what's at stake for the textile and apparel trade – especially his promises t...

BLOG

Likely shifts in the sourcing landscape in 2017

Continuing our look at what lies ahead for the apparel industry and its supply chain in 2017, the panel of industry experts consulted by just-style last week tackled likely shifts in the sourcing land...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?