BEWARE: new virus is infecting all fashion conscious Aussies. Although women are more susceptible to infection, this virus is not gender discriminatory. Targeting men as well as teens, the ‘Zara’ is wriggling its way into our fashion psyche and turning us into complete clothing scavengers.
It all started with founder Amancio Ortega. With over 1900 Zara’s in 60 countries, the frenzy had been well established prior to hitting Aussie shores.
It was on Wednesday 20th April Zara’s mighty jaws opened, consuming hundreds of waiting people, already driven mad by the European brand bug. Within 3 minutes of the store opening, 80% of its stock on the shop floors had been snatched by fashion hungry Aussies. Even visiting Spanish executives were forced to work on shop floors, assisting with de-tagging clothes and serving customers.
Mr Michael Lloyd, publisher of Shopping Centre News, commented that when the Zara ‘bug’ bit China last year, “it just murdered everything around it”.
And so the epidemic continues.
Zara’s successful ‘murder’ of Australian retailers can be derived from its short time period from catwalks to stores, exceeding no more than two weeks. It recognises upcoming trends quickly and makes them available to the consumer.
Obviously Westfield is ecstatic. Executives say they could not have predicted the financial success of Zara, which cost them $1.2 billion in retail development. For a brand which doesn’t advertise, the return on investment is phenomenal. Shoppers are actually benefitting from the new store, reaping new styles and appreciating European fashions. Retailers however, will be worse off. Australian stores with similar stock like Witchery and Country Road may feel the effects of the epidemic as their target market and concepts remain similar to that of Zara.
Will there be a cure to this epidemic? It seems the only antidote for retailers is to decrease the wait between catwalk to shop floors and many may have to re-think concepts to entice their target markets.
Let it be known that Zara will not be fleeting, but a terminal force to be reckoned with in the Aussie retail industry.