Zara has restricted its Venezuelan customers to five purchases per month as it struggles to cope with a huge surge in demand in the country.

Spanish clothing giant Inditex, which owns fast-fashion retailer Zara, has introduced the restrictions after there were large queues at its stores in Venezuela, according to Spanish newspaper 20 Minutos.

Shoppers in Venezuela will be limited to buying three items for the upper body per month such as shirts and jackets, and two skirts or pairs of trousers.

Each customer will be issued with individual ID numbers to track their purchases.

It is understood that the surge in demand has come as a result of months of chronic stock shortages followed by the arrival of new ranges of cheap clothes at the retailer.

There are conflicting reports about the reason for the cut-price offers. One theory attributes them to a favourable exchange rate and another claims the Venezuelan government had ordered the retailer to slash prices by 50%.

Zara prides itself on its flexible stock offering and rather than having one collection a season it produces five ‘waves’ of products with new products entering stores each week.

All products, regardless of where they are produced, come back to its Spanish hub before being shipped around the world.

Inditex claims its centralised logistics allow it to get products anywhere in the world within 48 hours.

Inditex, which is owned by the world’s third richest man Amancio Ortega, is the world’s biggest fashion retailer and operates 6,500 stores in 88 countries.

The stores span eight brands including Zara, Pull & Bear, Bershka and Massimo Dutti.