Zara has been present in the UK since the late 1990s and has been steadily increasing its sales as its on-trend designs offered at competitive prices have struck a chord.

However, sales slumped as a result of the pandemic in the year to January 2021, with UK sales falling by almost a quarter to £628.6m. The retailer trades through around 60 stores in the UK, which each offer a much more premium store environment than is normally expected from mass-market fashion retailers. 

Zara’s parent company Inditex is the world’s largest fashion retailer as well as one of the most profitable ones, but margins in the UK are notably lower.  

In addition to Zara, the group also trades through the Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Zara Home, Stradivarius and Pull & Bear formats in the UK. 

Technology is a key part of Zara’s success. The retailer prides itself on being fleet of foot – it produces five “waves” of designs each season, rather than just one collection, and it has a logistics network that is reportedly able to get products anywhere in the world within 48 hours.

It leverages its technology expertise to ensure a smooth flow of customer data in order to create the right products mix.

At the centre of its IT operations is its technology centre in Arteixo, in Gallicia, northern Spain.

Innovation rating: 2.5

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