On Wednesday morning the Bellevue Collection announced that Zara will be opening at Bellevue Square this fall. The new store will be located in the South Common area, the J.C. Penney’s former space. The store will be one-level, 26,000 square feet, and will carry trendy finds for women, men, and children.
“Bellevue Square is a perfect match with the Zara customer and we are delighted that the Bellevue and entire Eastside community is among such prestigious metropolitan cities from around the country that will welcome their new store,” said, Kemper Freeman, chairman and CEO of Kemper Development Company, in a statement.
The area’s first Zara opened in Seattle’s Westlake Center in February 2014.
Zara is the second big retailer to move into JC Penney’s former location. In April, the Bellevue Collection revealed Uniqlo, the Japanese retail giant, would also open a store in the South Common area this fall. According to The Bellevue Collection, other retailers are in negotiation to join Zara and Uniqlo in J.C. Penney’s old space.
Zara is a Spanish retailer known for their fast-fashion business model. It watches for and gets trends into the hands of customers in record time. In 2012, Forbes magazine claimed Zara takes only 10-15 days to design a product, ship it, and have it available for purchase. The company designs new products twice a week, keeping stores forever trendy.
“Because of this streamlined model, Zara is not forced to be ahead of the curve. Rather, they exist on the curve, evaluating trends first, then following,” Forbes said.
To stay on the curve the retail giant follows Toyota Motor’s Just-In-Time approach. The production philosophy is guided by the gold rule of supplying “what is needed, when it is needed, and in the amount needed.” Unlike other retail companies that have moved their manufacturing away from headquarters, Zara has Spanish factories where the majority of their garments get started by machines and then are shipped to hundreds of smaller shops that add the details and design elements. Because Zara is in complete control of their design and production process they can crank their own speed dial to push out trendy items while they’re still relevant.
Another interesting point in Zara’s business model is it hardly does any advertising. That’s right. The multi-billion dollar company doesn’t depend on billboards, commercials, or partnerships with famous designers and celebrities. Instead it spend money on buying real estate close to designer shops and luxury brands.
“Prada wants to be next to Gucci, Gucci wants to be next to Prada. The retail strategy for luxury brands is to try to keep as far away from the likes of Zara. Zara’s strategy is to get as close to them as possible,” Masoud Golsorkhi, the editor of Tank magazine in London told The Atlantic.
While Zara might not be the most popular store on the block for high-end brands, they certainly are for many shoppers. Inditex Group, Zara’s parent company, is one of the largest fashion retail groups in the world. While it owns seven other clothing companies Zara is its breadwinner. In 2014, sales revenue rose by 8 percent to 18.12 billion in euros.
Zara isn’t known for its originality of design. It doesn’t have a marketing plan that trumps Beyonce in a yellow bikini for H&M. The quality of its clothing can be hit or miss. But what Zara can do is sell you what you want, when you want it.