|Founded||1975(as Zorba) in Spain|
Number of locations
|Revenue||€18,021 million (2018)|
Zara SA (Spanish: [ˈθaɾa]), stylized as ZARA, is a Spanish apparel retailer based in Arteixo, A Coruña, Galicia, Spain. The company specializes in fast fashion, and products include clothing, accessories, shoes, swimwear, beauty, and perfumes. It is the largest company in the Inditex group, the world's largest apparel retailer. Zara as of 2017 manages up to 20 clothing collections a year.
Founded by Amancio Ortega in 1975, Zara is a flagship clothing chain store that is part of Inditex group, the world's largest apparel retailer. Amancio Ortega opened the first Zara store in 1975 in central A Coruña, Galicia, Spain where the company is still based. Ortega initially named the store Zorba after the classic film Zorba the Greek, but after learning there was a bar with the same name two blocks away, the letters were remolded for the sign to say "Zara". It is believed the extra "a" came from an additional set of letters that had been made for the company. The first store featured low-priced lookalike products of popular, higher-end clothing fashions. Ortega opened additional stores throughout Spain. During the 1980s, Ortega changed the design, manufacturing, and distribution process to reduce lead times and react to new trends in a quicker way, which he called "instant fashions". The improvements included the use of information technology and groups of designers instead of individuals.
In 1985, Amancio Ortega set up a parent company for Zara before engaging in global expansion, and in 1988, the company started its international expansion through Porto, Portugal. In 1989, it entered the United States, and then France in 1990. During the 1990s, Zara expanded to Mexico (1992)  and Greece, Belgium and Sweden (1993). In the early 2000s, Zara opened its first stores in Brazil (2000); Japan and Singapore (2002); Venezuela, Russia and Malaysia (2003); China, Morocco, Estonia, Hungary and Romania (2004); the Philippines, Costa Rica and  Indonesia (2005); South Korea (2008); India (2010); Taiwan, South Africa and Australia (2011); and Peru (2012).
In September 2010, Zara launched its online boutique. The website began in Spain, the UK, Portugal, Italy, Germany and France. In November of that same year, Zara Online extended its service to five more countries: Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Online stores began operating in the United States in 2011, Russia and Canada in 2013, Mexico in 2014, South Korea in 2014, Romania in 2016, India in 2017, Brazil in 2019 and Peru in 2020.
Zara introduced the use of RFID technology in its stores in 2014. The RFID chips are located in the security tags which are removed from clothing when purchased and can be reused. The chip allows the company to quickly take inventory by detecting radio signals from the RFID tags. When an item is sold, the stockroom is immediately notified so that the item can be replaced. An item that is not on the shelf can easily be found with the RFID tag.
In 2015, Zara was ranked #30 on Interbrand's list of best global brands.
In 2019, the global fashion business Journal MDS stated that while the textile commerce of the world had gone down by 2.38%, Zara's had risen 2.17%.
In 2019, Chief Executive Persson said the brand is waiting for more acceptable global rent levels to continue its expansion. In Europe, the brand planned to cut the number of retail locations beginning in 2020.
Zara stores have men's and women's clothing as well as children's clothing (Zara Kids). Zara Home designs are located in European stores. The majority of Zara customers range from 18- mid 30s. years old. After products are designed, they take 10 to 15 days to reach the stores. All of the clothing is processed through the distribution center in Spain. New items are inspected, sorted, tagged, and loaded into trucks. In most cases, the clothing is delivered within 48 hours. Zara produces over 450 million items per year.
Zara also includes accessories, shoes, swimwear, beauty and perfumes.
In May 2021, Zara launched its first beauty line, ZARA Beauty.
Manufacturing and distribution
Reportedly, Zara needs just one week to develop a new product and get it to stores, compared to the six-month industry average, and makes roughly 40,000 designs of which around 12,000 new designs are carefully selected and produced each year. Zara has a policy of zero advertising; the company preferred to invest a percentage of revenues in opening new stores instead.
Zara set up its own factory in La Coruña (a city known for its textile industry) in 1980 and upgraded to reverse milk-run-type production and distribution facilities in 1990. This approach, designed by Toyota Motor Corp., was called the just-in-time (JIT) system. It enabled the company to establish a business model that allows self-containment throughout the stages of materials, manufacture, product completion, and distribution to stores worldwide within just a few days.
Most of the products Zara sells are manufactured in proximity countries like Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Morocco, and Bangladesh . While some competitors outsource all production to Asia, Zara manufactures its most fashionable items – half of all its merchandise – at a dozen company-owned factories in Spain and Portugal and Turkey, particularly in Galicia and northern Portugal and Turkey. Clothes with a longer shelf life, such as basic T-shirts, are outsourced to low-cost suppliers, mainly in Asia.
The company can design a new product and have finished goods in its stores in four to five weeks; it can modify existing items in as little as two weeks. Shortening the product life cycle means greater success in meeting consumer preferences. If a design does not sell well within a week, it is withdrawn from shops, further orders are canceled and a new design is pursued. Zara monitors customers' fashion changes. Zara has a range of basic designs that are carried over from year to year, but some fashion-forward designs can stay on the shelves less than four weeks, which encourages Zara fans to make repeat visits. An average high-street store in Spain expects customers to visit three times a year. That goes up to 17 times for Zara.
In 2011, Greenpeace started a dialog with Zara to ban toxics from the clothing production. Greenpeace published its "Toxic threads: the big fashion stitch-up" report in November 2012 as part of its Detox Campaign identifying companies that use toxic substances in their manufacturing processes. Nine days after the report was published, Zara committed to eradicating all releases of hazardous chemicals throughout its entire supply chain and products by 2020. Zara became the biggest retailer in the world to raise awareness for the Detox Campaign, and switched to a fully toxic-free production.
Exploitation and child labour
In 2016, BBC News stated they found evidence of child labor and exploitation in factories in Turkey. Zara replied that there were some issues in June 2016 in one single factory and, instead of solving these issues immediately, they have given a period of six months to solve them.
Allegations of antisemitism
In 2007, Zara withdrew a handbag from its shelves after a customer noticed a swastika on the bag's design. The bag came from an external supplier, and Zara claimed the symbol was not visible when the handbag was chosen. Zara withdrew the product from stores, and spokesperson Susan Suett said the bag would not have been sourced had the symbol been apparent.
In August 2014, Zara received criticism for selling a toddler T-shirt for closely resembling uniforms worn by Jewish concentration camp inmates. The T-shirt was striped and featured a yellow star similar to the Star of David. Zara said the design was inspired by "the sheriff's stars from the classic western films". Zara removed the shirt from sale a few hours after they appeared for sale, and apologized. Zara received criticism for selling the T-shirt in Israel because the country does not have sheriffs. Additionally, the word "Sheriff" is outlined in transparent letters on the bright yellow star. The Anti-Defamation League responded to the shirt, saying that it was offensive, but welcomed Zara's recognition of the potential imagery and removing the shirt from sale.
In August 2011, a Brazilian television show accused the company of using sweatshops for their outsourced production. The Regional Superintendency of Labour and Employment of São Paulo, Brazil, closed a factory that produced Zara's clothing for its poor labour conditions. Zara's representatives said the accusations of slave labour made against the retailer represent a breach of the code of conduct for workshops of Inditex. The company also states factories responsible for unauthorized outsourcing have been asked to regularize immediately the situation of the workers involved.
In September 2013, Bangladeshi garment workers for suppliers to Zara and its parent company, Inditex, protested following the 2013 Dhaka garment factory collapse, demanding a US$100 a month minimum wage. Inditex does not publicly disclose the factories that produce their branded clothing.
In November 2017, customers shopping at Zara stores in Istanbul, Turkey, found handwritten notes purportedly from Turkish workers in the pockets of in-store garments asking shoppers to pressure Zara into paying them unpaid wages. The company clarified the unpaid wages were due to a third-party manufacturer Bravo Tekstil, who had failed to pay their employees. The company said they would help to provide compensation to employees who weren't paid. In the agreement, only factory-floor employees were compensated, with "white-collar" employees not covered by the agreement.
In July 2016, complaints were made against Zara that they had been stealing designs from multiple independent designers for their products. One of the designers, Tuesday Bassen, who previously worked with brands including Urban Outfitters and Nike, contacted Zara. The company responded Bassen's designs were not distinctive enough, and they received only a handful of complaints given the large volume of traffic they receive on their site. When the news was eventually picked up by media outlets, and Inditex, Zara's owning company, was asked to comment on the issue, Inditex replied that the items in question have been suspended from sale, and that they are in contact with Bassen's lawyer to clarify and address the issue.
As of April 2018, MaXhosa by Laduma is taking legal action against Zara for copying its designs. Zara responded to complaints from the designer by removing socks that resembled his artistic style.
In June 2018, a Zara jacket with "I really don't care, do U?" emblazoned on the back became controversial after it was worn by Melania Trump when she visited a detention center for migrant children separated from their parents.
Political controversy in China
In September 2019, Zara supported Hong Kong strikes; however after pressures from Chinese social media Zara was forced to issue a statement expressing its support of the "one country, two systems" policy adopted by China in ruling Hong Kong, and its disapproval of anti-government strikes.
Allegations of Anti-Palestinian bullying
In June 2021, the company's womens' head fashion designer Vanessa Perilman made anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic comments, blaming terrorism in Gaza on Palestinians in response to a Palestinian model Qaher Harhash as well as bulling him on Instagram. After receiving backlash for her comments when they were made public by Qaher, Perilman apologised for and racially charged language. Zara later asked Qaher to post Perilman’s apology on his social media. After another backlash, they were condemned her comments, but she was not disciplined. Because of Zara's delayed response, and decision to not fire Perilman, calls to boycott Zara emerged through social media.
In early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ZARA stores worldwide had closed temporarily due to restrictions. However, in April 2020, ZARA owner ramped up shipment to Asia as China ended lockdown after 76 days.
- Bonds (clothing)
- Calvin Klein
- Tommy Hilfiger
- Gap Inc.
- European Retail Round Table
- List of companies of Spain
- "Inditex Annual Report 2018" (PDF).
- "Zara, motor de Inditex". 11 November 2019.
- "Zara is facing a massive threat that could jeopardize the business". businessinsider.de. 23 May 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
- "ZARA United States | New Collection Online". www.zara.com. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
- "Global stretch". The Economist. 10 March 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
- "Looking good can be extremely bad for the planet". The Economist. 8 April 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
- Hansen, Suzy (9 November 2012). "How Zara Grew Into the World's Largest Fashion Retailer". The New York Times. p. 2.
- How Zara became the world's biggest fashion retailer. Graham Ruddick. 20 October 2015. Telegraph. accessed 5 April 2016.
- "Spanish domination - Zara brand profile - Marketing Magazine". marketingmag.com.au. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
- "Why high street giant Zara always gets it right". Irish Independent. 29 October 2015.
- "Fashion invasion". The Economist. 8 December 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- Kreknina, Aleksandra (25 October 2012). "Zara plans to open over 50 shops in Russia every year". Russia Beyond The Headlines. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- John Dawson; Roy Larke; Masao Mukoyama (21 August 2006). Strategic Issues in International Retailing. Routledge.
- Robert D. Hisrich; Claudine Kearney (25 June 2013). Managing Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Sage Publications.
- "Zara takes a cautious step into China". Just-Style. 6 September 2004. Archived from the original on 16 April 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- Robb Young (5 November 2013). "In North Africa, a Story of Morocco and the Rest". Business of Fashion. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "Zara opens in the Baltic republics by opening a store in Estonia". El País. El Pais. 17 August 2004. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "Milestones in Hungary's fashion life". Property Magazine. 11 October 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "Zara launches online shop in Romania". Romania Insider. 1 April 2014. Archived from the original on 1 September 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "Zara Opens in Costa Rica". Inside Costa Rica. 16 May 2005. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "Mitra Adiperkasa offers everything, from Zara to Starbucks". The Jakarta Post. 24 April 2005. Archived from the original on 20 June 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "Spains Zara Opens First Store in Korea". The Korea Times. 29 April 2008. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "Fashion chain Zara opens its first Indian store". BBC. 31 May 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- Emma Jordan (19 January 2011). "Zara to Open in South Africa". iFashion. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "Global phenomenon Zara finally opens in Sydney". Vogue. 19 April 2011. Archived from the original on 15 September 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "Gestión | EL DIARIO DE ECONOMÍA Y NEGOCIOS DE PERÚ". archivo.gestion.pe. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
- "Zara launches online boutique". fashionunited.com. 6 September 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- "Zara.com launches in 5 more countries". Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "Inditex post record profits". Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "Zara's Secret To Success: The New Science Of Retailing". Forbes. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- Mary Kim (12 February 2013). "Zara To Launch Canadian Online Story". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- Michelle Reddick (5 March 2013). "Zara launches online shopping in Canada". Toronto Life. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- Katie Evans (10 September 2014). "Zara sells online in Mexico". Internet Retailer. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- "Zara launches online in South Korea". Inside Retail. 7 October 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- "Inditex: Zara to launch online platforms in South Korea and Mexico". Evigo. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- "Zara launches online store in Romania". Ecommerce News. 28 March 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- "Perú: Zara anuncia la apertura de su tienda online". Perú Retail. 3 June 2020. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
- Bjork, Christopher (16 September 2014). "Zara Builds Its Business Around RFID". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- "Zara". Interbrand. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
- "Zara's new logo may be the future of branding, love it or hate it". Fast Company. 29 January 2019. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
- "ZARA's new logo squeezes out criticism from other designers". 5 February 2019.
- "Giants in the kingdom of Zara: Inditex, H&M and Primark dominate 38% of fashion sales". www.themds.com. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
- "H&M and Zara Are Closing Stores To Get Ahead". Fortune. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
- The Future of Fashion Retailing: The Zara Approach 25 October 2012. Greg Petro. Forbes. accessed 5 April 2016
- Zara's Fast-Fashion Edge. Susan Berfield and Manuel Baigorri. 14 November 2013. Bloomberg. accessed 5 April 2016
- Wong, Veronica (10 May 2021). "Zara Introduces Refillable Beauty With Its First-Ever Beauty Line". Retrieved 13 May 2021.
- Burgen, Stephen (17 August 2012). "Fashion chain Zara helps Inditex lift first quarter profits by 30%". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- Zara's Big Idea: What the World's Top Fashion Retailer Tells Us About Innovation. Derek Thompson. 13 November 2012. The Atlantic. accessed 5 April 2016
- Kojima, Kensuke (2011). Uniqlo Syndrome. Japan: Tenkai. ISBN 978-4-492-76191-5.
- The 5 ingredients of Zara's success. Bibby Sowray. 11 December 2015. Telegraph. accessed 5 April 2016
- Fashion Conquistador Businessweek
- Executive Masters in International Logistics at Georgia Tech
- Friedman, Thomas (2006). The World is Flat. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-374-29279-9.
- Roux, Caroline (28 October 2002). "The reign of Spain". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- "Even Zara Can Have a Wardrobe Malfunction". Bloomberg.com. 14 March 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
- "People! Zara commits to go toxic-free". Greenpeace.org. 29 November 2012.
- "Toxic threads: the big fashion stitch-up" (PDF). Greenpeace.org. 20 November 2012. pp. 15, 24.
- Alice Newbold (1 December 2012). "Zara Just Caved To Greenpeace And Agreed To Stop Using Toxic Chemicals". Business Insider. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- "Greenpeace voert actie bij Zara tegen giftige kleding". De Morgen (in Dutch). 24 November 2012. Archived from the original on 30 October 2013.
- "Syrian child refugees making UK clothes". BBC News. 24 October 2016.
- "Zara withdraws swastika handbags". BBC.co.uk. British Broadcasting Corporation. 19 September 2007. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
- Kaufman, Alexander (27 August 2014). "Zara Apologizes for Pajamas That Look Just Like A Concentration Camp Uniform". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
- Grinberg, Emanuella (28 August 2014). "Retailer pulls shirts reminiscent of Holocaust". CNN.com. Cable News Network. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
- Guerra, Carolina (17 August 2011). "Marca Zara está envolvida em denúncia de trabalho escravo". VEJA (in Portuguese). Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- Antunes, Anderson (17 August 2011). "Zara Accused Of Alleged 'Slave Labor' In Brazil". Forbes.
- Nashrulla, Tasneem. "The People Who Make H&M, Gap, And Zara Clothes Earn $38 A Month And Are Demanding $100". Buzzfeed News. Buzzfeed News. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
- Kashyap, Aruna. "When Clothing Labels Are a Matter of Life or Death". The Daily Beast. The Daily Beast. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
- Young, Sarah (5 November 2017). "Unpaid laborers are 'slipping pleas for help into Zara clothes". The Independent. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- "UNPAID LABOURERS ARE 'SLIPPING PLEAS FOR HELP INTO ZARA CLOTHES'".
- Segran, Elizabeth (6 November 2017). "The Real Story Behind Those Desperate Notes That Zara Workers Left In Clothes". Fast Company. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
- "Unpaid Zara garment workers say they still haven't seen a cent". CBC.
- Davies, Madeleine. "Zara Copies Indie Artist's Work, Then Says She's Not Famous Enough For It to Matter". jezebel.com. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
- Addady, Michal (20 July 2016). "12 Artists Are Accusing Zara of Stealing Their Designs". Fortune. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
- Matangira, Lungelo. "Maxhosa's Laduma on Zara design knock-offs: It's shocking & lacks integrity". Retrieved 25 April 2018.
- Eytan, Declan. "How Laduma Ngxokolo Battled Cultural Appropriation And Is Building An African Luxury Heritage Brand". Forbes. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
- Heil, Emily (21 June 2018). "How Melania Trump's jacket choice overtook her visit to the Texas border shelters". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
- "Delta flies into China trouble over Tibet and Taiwan". 12 January 2018.
- ("Fashion brand Zara seeks to distance itself from Hong Kong controversy". Reuteres. 6 September 2019.
- "Zara's Head of Design Attacks Palestinian Model, Qaher Harhash, in Islamophobic Rant". El-Shai. 13 June 2021. Retrieved 3 October 2021.
- "Zara's Head of Design Attacks Palestinian Model, Qaher Harhash, in Islamophobic Rant". El-Shai. 13 June 2021. Retrieved 3 October 2021.
- Jack Guy. "Zara under fire after top designer sends Palestinian model inflammatory messages". CNN. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
- Abdelkader, Rima (17 June 2021). "Fashion retailer Zara condemns anti-Palestinian comments made by designer".
- "Inditex around the world". Inditex. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
- How Zara became the world's biggest fashion retailer. 20 October 2014. Graham Ruddick. accessed 5 April 2016
- Zara new season styles: what to buy at the Spanish giant right now. Linda Sharkey. 29 May 2015. Independent. accessed 5 April 2016
- "Zara Owner Ramps Up Shipment to Asia as Shoppers Return". Bloomberg. Thomas Gualtieri. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
Media related to Zara (clothing) at Wikimedia Commons