I am not an expert on the fashion industry, but I must say I am interested to learn more about the Spanish chain called Zara. First time I heard about the fashion store, was from two female classmates who have lived in Spain. I think that the management at H&M should lookout for Zara in America, before it is too late.
Here is an excerpt from the article, The future of fast fashion.
The result is that Zara's production cycles are much faster than those of its nearest rival, Sweden's Hennes & Mauritz (H&M). An entirely new Zara garment takes about five weeks from design to delivery; a new version of an existing model can be in the shops within two weeks. In a typical year, Zara launches some 11,000 new items, compared with the 2,000-4,000 from companies like H&M or America's giant casual-fashion chain, Gap. (Economist.com, 06/16/05.)
The company is very profitable, but the question is if the expansion of the chain store is going to fast. Zara business concept has been studied in many countries. Here is a quote from the Indian columnist, Arvind Singhal.
Essentially, Inditex was a pioneer in breaking several lost-established fashion retail business paradigms by investing in manufacturing and supply chain technology, as well as develop new business processes whereby it could track consumers� buying behavioural patterns almost real time and then have the appropriate merchandise delivered to the retail shelves within an unbelievable concept-to-retail time period ranging from two to five weeks. (Business-standard.com, Fast Strategy, 06/23/05.)
Here is an interesting thought from the article, New kids on the high street cut a dash with fast fashions by Angela Saini and Sarah Ryle. Zara could be popular, not by its brand itself, but with the notion that the customer has to be quick to decide if she wants to buy a specific garment, otherwise it could be gone in a flash.
'Zara is a brand of a different kind,' says Michael Lewis, professor of operations and supply management at Bath University. 'Customers buy for the responsiveness of the company, not the label. They may even cut the label out of the outfit if it looks enough like a catwalk original. The brand is built on customers' trust that Zara will deliver high-fashion garments before anyone else.' (Observer.Guardian.co.uk, 06/05/05.)
It will be fascinating to follow Zara's fast track in the future... If you know about similar business ideas in other industries, please send me an email. This could lead me to potential companies to work for.
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