Zara Shows Its New York Love

Zara-AZara, which made headlines last year when it paid $324 million for a lease on its new Fifth Avenue store location, is the latest fast-fashion retailer to shower New Yorkers with retail love.

The splashy new store, its largest in the U.S., also represents the chain’s new global concept, says Inditex, its Spain-based parent. The sleek, black-and-white themed store has three floors, aligned along two catwalks. The company says the concept is based on the four principles of “beauty, clarity, functionality and sustainability,” right down to motion-controlled lighting in restrooms and biodegradable plastic bags. Inditex boasts that this new format uses 30% less energy than a conventional shop, and 70% less water.  

The shop is designed to look simple, which is quite a trick given that Zara’s strength is its fast-fashion turnover. A team of more than 1,000 designers monitors trends and sales around the world, which means new merchandise arrives in stores twice a week. Included in the introduction is a black-and-white film on its website. Called “Dear New York,” and directed by Luis Urculo, the mini-movie uses all kinds of objects to build and rebuild the city’s skyline. 



Zara is the latest chain to raise the stakes in the U.S. Japan’s Uniqlo, for example, now has three stores in the U.S., including its flagship, just a stone’s throw from the new Zara. (Eventually, Uniqlo has said it plans to have as many as 200 U.S. stores, with sales of $10 billion, by 2020.) Sweden’s H&M, with a large shop just down the block, is also continuing its U.S. expansion.  And Britain’s Topshop, owned by Arcadia, opened its third U.S. location (this one in Las Vegas) last week. A fourth is reportedly planned for Los Angeles. 

In addition to its 1,700-plus Zara stores in 78 countries, the company owns such additional retail brands as Pull&Bear, Stradivarius and Bershka, for a total of more than 5,000 stores around the world.

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