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Zara-to-Pull & Bear owner Inditex continues online expansion

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Zara owner Inditex now sells online to 39 markets after expanding ecomemrce to 11 new countries during the first half of its financial year.

All of the group’s brands, which also include Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear and Bershka, will start to sell in Turkey in October. At the same time, Inditex stores are now present in 92 markets, following the opening of Zara in Vietnam in September. By the end of July, the group had 7,096 stores in total.

Inditex chairman and chief executive Pablo Isla said its omnichannel model, which brings together stores and online, remained important as the group continues to invest in this area.

“Both our online and bricks-and-mortar stores are seamlessly connected,” he said, “driven by platforms such as mobile payment, and other technological initatives that we will continue to develop.”

The update comes as Inditex sales reached €10.5bn in the half year to July 31, 11% higher than at the same time last year. while net profits grew to €1.3bn, 8% higher than a year earlier. Like-for-like sales grew by 11% during the half-year. Online sales grew by 13% between August 1 and September 18 2016.

The group is also to enable shoppers in its Spanish domestic market to use their mobile phones to pay in stores. Shoppers will be able to choose to use online apps from each of the group’s eight brands. Alternatively they will be able to pay through an InWallet Inditex app that covers all of the brands and will enable shoppers to manage receipts issued both online and offline. This, says Inditex, will do away with the need for paper receipts. In due course the service will be expanded to other markets.

Commenting on the figures, Rupal Karia, managing director of retail and hospitality, UK and Ireland at Fujitsu, said: “These positive results from Zara owner Inditex emphasise that retailers who have an integrated and multichannel approach are doing well in this turbulent retail market. What’s important to notice regarding these results is that both Inditex’s online and store sales have collectively grown in the past year, thanks to its conscious effort to seamlessly align its bricks and mortar stores with its online offerings.

“Rather than focusing on one channel, Inditex has made sure to cater to the differing needs of its varied customer base. It has ensured that it provides mobile payments and other platforms that customers have now come to expect, which has benefited Inditex massively. Customers don’t want just online or high-street now, but require a blend of digital and face-to-face services for the greatest convenience and experience. I personally experienced a Zara store when an item was out of stock, and an assistant within minutes had shown me it on the web site which enabled me to make an order!

“If other retailers wish to follow suit, they will need ensure all channels are perfectly aligned to create a robust multichannel strategy, enabling customers to move freely from one to the other during their shopping experience. The retailers that ensure they are digital from the inside out and create a balanced, efficient offering that caters for all audiences will be the ones who see success in this digital age.”

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