Zara to add zip to Bay State


Shoppers who hesitate at Zara may be out of luck on their return trip to pick up that shirt, jacket or dress.

The Spanish retail chain is an international fast-fashion success story, with a business model that allows it to refresh its stores with new on-trend merchandise every two weeks.

chairman of Davidowitz & Associates Inc. said “These guys are revolutionizing American retail with this speed of replenishments,”.He said “This is unheard of in the United States. Our best retailers don’t come close.”

Zara will open its first Massachusetts store at the Natick Mall this year and has been scouting a Newbury Street location in Boston, carries women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, shoes and accessories.

Zara,the chain of 990 stores in 63 countries has its own design-to-distribution facility in Spain that handles much of its production. It introduced 20,000 different items in its stores last year with a swiftness designed to stimulate customer traffic and in small quantities designed to create a sense of scarcity and exclusivity about its clothes.

“They’re a store that’s very trend-driven and very runway-inspired,” said Hope Greenberg, fashion director at Lucky, a shopping and style magazine. “They have a quick turnover, so that as soon as a trend is presented somewhere – usually on the runway – they can go right to the store with it.”

Inditex operates 24 Zara stores in the United States and plans to open eight to 10 new ones each year, for a target of 50 by 2009.Zara’s prices are comparable to, or slightly higher than, those of Banana Republic or Club Monaco: $39 to $189 for shoes, $39 to $99 for women’s pants, $189 for men’s blazers and up to $269 for a women’s jacket.

Greenberg said “They are moderately priced, so it offers women the opportunity to get these trends without an enormous investment,”. “Is it designer quality? No, but it is quality that’s good enough to get you through a season or two.”

Zara will open a 9,000-square-foot store at the Natick Mall, as part of the center’s major expansion to be unveiled in September.But Zara’s fast-in-fast-out approach to retailing means fewer markdowns for consumers, because merchandise doesn’t sit around as long at it does at most chains.