Zara is the major division of the Spanish retailer Inditex, which is based in La Coruna. It is a global fast fashion leader, boasting sales of $19.7 billion for the 2014 financial year. It outpaces Uniqlo, Gap, Primark, Abercrombie & Fitch and Mango. Forbes this year reported that Zara had 1,923 stores in 88 countries, with another 162 stores covered by Zara Kids. Home and accessories division Zara Home has 437 stores.
According to Forbes, the Inditex Group can deliver new merchandise in as little as three weeks from its own factories, allowing exceptionally fast turnover.
Kiwi retailers can relax slightly – despite its new availability, the globally-popular clothing and accessories chain is yet to open a physical store of its own or offer direct shipping to New Zealand through its website.
Asked in May how concerned Kiwi retailers should be about the arrival of foreign chains such as Topshop, WGSN trend forecasting expert Lorna Hall said there is not really room in New Zealand for a large number of stores.
“They’re not all going to come here and open stores.”
In a move reminiscent of Topshop’s early Kiwi presence, Zara is being stocked exclusively at Milford store The Shop, which opens tomorrow. A spokesperson did not divulge the identity of The Shop's owner, but said a "local family" with many years of experience in importing, exporting, manufacturing and retailing was behind it.
"This will be the first time the worldwide label is in reach for New Zealanders," she says. "Showcasing fast fashion-forward garments, The Shop will have regular shipments of Zara clothing straight from Spain and will also provide the opportunity for young, up-and-coming New Zealand labels to exhibit and sell their designs within the store."
A limited range of goods from Topshop and its menswear offering, Topman, has been stocked at The Department Store in Takapuna since 2009. The Queen St store is a full-sized flagship, which receives a product drop of up to 300 new items each week.
Zara items were available through Kiwi online retailer Co.Label last year, but the clothing deals website has since closed down.
Australian label Seed Heritage and another British fashion retailer, FCUK, also opened this year in New Zealand.