Zara: Fast Fashion From
After studying this chapter you should be able to:
1. Understand how Zara’s parent Inditex leveraged a technology-enabled strategy to become the
world’s largest fashion retailer.
2. Contrast Zara’s approach with the conventional wisdom in fashion retail, examining how the
ﬁrm’s strategic use of information technology inﬂuences design and product oﬀerings, manu-
facturing, inventory, logistics, marketing, and ultimately proﬁtability.
3. Detail how Zara’s approach counteracts speciﬁc factors that Gap has struggled with for over a
4. Identify the environmental threats that Zara is likely to face, and consider options available to
the ﬁrm for addressing these threats.
The poor, ship-building town of La Coruòna in northern Spain seems an unlikely home to a tech-
charged innovator in the decidedly ungeeky fashion industry, but that’s where you’ll ﬁnd “The Cube”,
the gleaming, futuristic central command of the Inditex Corporation (Industrias de Diseño Textil),
parent of game-changing clothes giant, Zara. The blend of technology-enabled strategy that Zara has
unleashed seems to break all of the rules in the fashion industry. The ﬁrm shuns advertising, rarely
runs sales, and in an industry where nearly every major player outsources manufacturing to low-cost
countries, Zara is highly vertically integrated, keeping huge swaths of its production process in-house.
These counterintuitive moves are part of a recipe for success that’s beating the pants oﬀ the competi-
tion, and it has turned the founder of Inditex, Amancio Ortega, into Spain’s wealthiest man and the
world’s richest fashion executive.
Zara’s operations are concentrated in Spain, but they have stores around the world, including these in Manhattan
The ﬁrm tripled in size between 1996 and 2000, then skyrocketed from $2.43 billion in 2001 to $13.6
billion in 2007. By August 2008, sales edged ahead of Gap, making Inditex the world’s largest fashion
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