LA CORUÑA, Spain — Zara’s new flagship store in its hometown here illustrates part of the fashion retailer’s strategy to stay ahead of its rivals: focusing on bigger brick-and-mortar stores and an online expansion.
Zara’s new store, with over 54,000 square feet and five stories, opened in September and replaced four smaller ones spread around town.
It serves as the model for other Zara flagship stores the company is rolling out around the world. The retailer hopes the new stores, which will contain full range of its collections, will persuade customers to browse and ultimately buy more.
The changes at Zara come as traditional retailers are struggling to catch up with rapidly changing consumer purchasing habits, as more shoppers shun stores in favor of online purchases.
Such pressure helped prod Neiman Marcus Group Ltd. into its decision this week to begin talks to sell itself to the parent of Saks Fifth Avenue. And some analysts have suggested that it is time for Gap Inc. to explore strategic alternatives for Banana Republic, including a potential sale or shutting down the brand.
An urgent question for most retailers is the right brick-and-mortar strategy to adopt. For instance, Macy’s Inc. is shutting hundreds of stores even as Gap is expanding its network after a big retrenchment.
Inditex SA, Zara’s parent and the world’s largest fashion retailer by sales, hasn’t said how many such stores it will open.
The company’s strategy, supported by a rapid-fire production system that lets it replenish its stores more quickly than rivals, is aimed at setting itself apart in an industry struggling to identify the right brick-and-mortar strategy.
Inditex seeks to have “full integration of…