Zara and her Sisters: The Story of the World's Largest by Enrique Badia

By Enrique Badia

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Extra info for Zara and her Sisters: The Story of the World's Largest Clothing Retailer

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It might sound like a logistical miracle, but it runs like clockwork. As far as production is concerned, Inditex is now in a position to be able to dictate to its suppliers to a certain extent but, of course, this has not always been the case. Whether it’s part of the legend or not, the story is told that the Ortega brothers lived through some complicated times when they were trying to find suppliers. When at last they found them, almost inevitably in Catalonia, the tale goes on to say that Amancio and Antonio covered the 1000 kilometres between A Coruña and Barcelona, making successive return trips in their own car loaded with raw materials bought from a manufacturer who had come to trust them and made a firm commitment to keep on supplying.

It should be borne in mind that in the business community all was not sweetness and light either before or after the entry of Spain into the European club. Entry was more of a political and, to some degree, sociological aspiration, which had gestated for long decades under Francoist gloom, than a desire on the part of the entrepreneurs, many of whom made no bones about their doubts and were more scared than excited about what could bring them a new opening to the outside world. And among the least excited sectors was textiles, some of the more vociferous of whose representatives saw the Community option more as a threat than a key to opportunity.

In one way you could say it indicates a kind of drift in the direction of selling as opposed to the more usual where the item allows itself to be bought. To some extent visiting Zara has become something of a social habit, whether by yourself or in company, just so you can be sure of what’s new. And you can do it when you like, because from the beginning Zara went for the continuous hours model, without interruption, which at that time was only to be found in the big department stores. An equal amount of talk has been expended on the theory that Zara is based on copying.

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