Creating a middle ground between the Qipu Lu market and the pricey brands of neighboring Plaza 66, Spanish retailer Zara opened its first Shanghai store last month on the ever fashionable Nanjing Xi Lu. By “middle ground” we mean that Zara patrons pretend they came over from Plaza 66 but dig through the racks like shoppers at Qipu Lu.
Zara is the flagship chain store for the Spanish Inditex Group, headquartered in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain, where the first Zara store opened in 1975. Today, Zara is probably the world’s fastest growing retailer with currently more than 850 stores around the world in 60 countries. Suprisingly, the name Zara has no meaning in Spanish nor in Galician, but Shanghaiist would like to think it means “Packed with hot chicks every Saturday afternoon.”
Zara has a unique business model that allows it to expand and compete with high quality brands at affordable prices. For instance, Zara needs three weeks for a new product development compared to the nine month industry average. Perhaps the most unusual strategy for this company has been their policy of zero advertising — where the company invests that percentage of revenues in opening new stores instead. We wish more companies in China would embrace this approach.
The Zara aesthetic focuses on chic, well-tailored items, many of which pay homage to runway looks by designers like Chanel, Calvin Klein, and Louis Vuitton. Accordingly, Louis Vuitton fashion director Daniel Piette described Zara as “possibly the most innovative and devastating retailer in the world”.
Zara is located on the corner of Nanjing Xi Lu and Shanxi Lu.