Zara’s owner, and the world’s largest clothing retailer, Inditex, has announced that it will sell products from all of its brands on the web.
“We want to make our fashion collections available to all of our customers, wherever they are in the world,” Chief Executive Pablo Isla said. “Even in those markets which do not currently have our brick-and-mortar stores.”
The full online catalog will be operational by 2020. Inditex also noted that it will be rolling out in-store pickup of online orders to all 96 countries where it operates a physical store.
Apart from its best known brand, Zara, Inditex is the power behind Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho and Uterqüe — a stable of stores that boast 7,500 physical shops worldwide
The move comes as Zara — the original fast fashion innovator — is now finding itself under fire from online-only firms that target their young and hip customer base. Notable entrants include merchants like Boohoo.com and Missguided. Zara, however, has no intention of being left behind, and has teamed up with tech firms to rethink its sales models and stock handling as it makes a bid to remain competitive in an increasingly crowded market.
So far, its move to digitization has show some early signs of strength. Online sales were up 41 percent in 2017 and represented 10 percent of Zara’s net sales. That is an improvement — though one that still sees the firm coming up behind its competitors. Sweden’s H&M — another big name in fast fashion — boasts online sales that are 12 percent of its net.
Inditex has drawn the jaundiced eye of some investors, with its stock price down 5 percent in the wake of Morgan Stanley cutting its recommendation to “underweight.”