How Zara adapted fast fashion to Covid

Despite its heavy emphasis on in-store sales and just-in-time supply, the retailer’s flexible business model proved a key strength during lockdown.

by Arif Harbott

Zara’s parent company Inditex has created one the best business models in the apparel industry, regularly delivering double-digit earnings growth year after year.

Zara in particular has been the envy of fashion retailers due to its famous ability to react quickly to consumer trends and get the latest items into stores well before its high street rivals. 

The key to this success is that while most retailers outsource production to low-cost Asian countries, Zara has a mix of manufacturing plants in Asia for products with stable demand combined with more expensive but flexible plants in Europe to produce items with unpredictable demand. This gives a lot more flexibility and speed, though it does mean higher costs.

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