Inditex and its Zara brand is opening 10 new stores a week as the supply-chain-driven customer experience wins out.

The sustained leader of fast-fashion and probably the world’s most effective retail machine, Inditex continues to grow ahead of the curve. With over 65% of sales still coming from its most recognised brand, Zara, it is now closing in on 6000 stores in over 110 countries. Alongside its only close competitor, H&M, it is dominant in Europe, growing steadily in the Americas and now focusing on more rapid scaling across Asia: In 2011 the company opened 179 new stores in Asia and 156 of these were in China. Since the firm’s IPO a decade ago, sales have quadrupled to €13.8bn. With higher product turnover, higher sales floor to store size ratios and less sales merchandise than other fashion retailers, Inditex knows exactly how to fine tune the customers portfolio so that they come back time and time and time again – four times as often as to many other stores.

With CEO Pablo Isla continuing in the vein of founder Amancio Ortega, much innovation is focused on continuing to optimise the core logistics capability that enables the company to go from concept to store in 2 weeks and restock anywhere globally in less than 48hrs. In-store innovation continues to maximise sales per square meter with the highest retail space to storeroom ratio in the sector while on-line activity is now providing the same level of fast change and delivery to the fiercely loyal customer base. Other than H&M, the competition from the likes of Gap, Uniqlo and Benetton shows little sign of catching up any time soon so, looking ahead, we can expect continued innovation and growth leadership from the acclaimed fast-fashion duo.

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