These days, the fashion market seems to be a very crowded place to be. With so many choices for young buyers both on the high street and online, it must be difficult for many retailers to survive. I have always taken an interest in the rise of the Spanish chain Zara, which seems to have bucked the trend and enjoyed several years at the top, and so I chose to include it in my recent series of lectures on Retail and Merchandising as a company that has taken a slightly different approach.
Zara has cleverly chosen to house its stores in prime retail locations, with top-quality fittings and great merchandising, all disguising the fact that the product is very competitively priced and often mid-range on quality. However, their adoption of ‘fast fashion’ – the disruptive strategy that allows them to make rapid changes to their offering in response to buying patterns – means that they always have something new and stylish on show. And so Zara’s owner Amanico Ortega is now the richest retailer in the world, not least because of his huge holding in prime real estate – a great exit strategy, should he ever need it.
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