The battle between brick-and-mortar stores versus online retail continues, as Zara announces it’s closing up to 1,200 stores over the next two years across the globe. But before you panic and buy a whole new wardrobe, Zara isn’t going anywhere. Rather than this being a downsizing for the fashion brand, Zara’s parent company, Inditex, has stated that it’s investing more than $1 billion in growing its e-commerce platforms.
According to the Guardian, most of the stores closing will be concentrated in Asia and Europe. In the U.S., Inditex said that the priority will be to integrate the physical and digital shopping realms. So while smaller locations will be closing, “stores will play a stronger role in the development of online sales due to their digitalization and capacity to reach customers from the best locations worldwide,” Footwear news reported the brand saying. Although, Zara hasn’t released details on this exact plan.
Physical stores have been losing popularity since long before COVID-19 shuttered retailers’ doors, but the pandemic seems to have been the straw that broke a lot of camels’ backs. Between February and April, Inditex, which also owns Bershka, Pull & Bear, and Massimo Dutti, was hit hard when sales fell by 44%, according to the company. But amidst the pandemic, unsurprisingly, there’s been a large surge in online shopping. Numbers published by Inditex say that online sales went up by 95% in April alone and have been up 50% for the first quarter of 2020.
And it doesn’t seem likely that e-commerce will lose popularity as stores begin to reopen. A report by Mastercard SpendingPulse released in June 2020 found that online shopping is still on the rise, even as stores start to reopen. Inditex believes online sales will nearly double between 2019 to 2022, so, it’s investing in growing Zara’s platform to make online shopping even easier.
Rest assured, the Zara you know and love isn’t going anywhere for now, despite some of its stores closing. If anything, the fashion retailer will soon be even easier to navigate than before.