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Zara Starting a Fashion Revolution in Georgia

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The FINANCIAL — Six of the world-famous fashion brands of Spanish company Inditex Group, including Zara, are entering the Georgian market.

 

The extremely popular Spanish store will be opening in Tbilisi Mall in April. Together with Pull and Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius and Oysho, Zara promises to make a fashion revolution in Georgia.

“The Georgian market is modern,” said Yassine Sibari, Executive General Director Saudi Arabia, Central Asia and Caucasus at Zara and Inditex. “Now the opportunity has arisen here, in Georgia. We decided to enter Georgia because I think that now is the right time,” he said.

Zara stores will be opened on Rustaveli Street in Tbilisi and in the centre of Batumi by the end of the year.

“Despite the fact that several entrepreneurs have already represented Zara non-officially in Georgia, I can say that this is the first and only Zara to have entered Georgia. This is happening now because of the high demand for Zara from the country’s consumers. The country’s consumers are being offered old and limited products in stores. It is also possible for customers not to be able to find sizes that fit in these stores,” he added.

“Such entrepreneurs have made a very traditional business model. This business is about opening a shop, going abroad, buying leftover clothes from Zara, bringing them here to the country and then selling them on. But Zara means the latest collection available right here in the country; at least 2,000 sq. meters of store renewing its collections every week. This is what Zara means and no one can compete with that,” he stated.

Q. What about the whole assortment, stock, service and concept, will they be identical to European branches of the shop? Will they be strictly regulated by the brand’s head office?

A. The same collections that people can find in Zara’s stores in Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, London and the world’s other major cities will be available from now on right here in Tbilisi as well. The designers are the same. Our stores are copy-pasted worldwide. Accordingly the whole assortment will of course be strictly regulated by Zara’s head office.

Q. Concerning the prices of the goods, will there be a significant difference between Zara stores represented in different countries and those in Georgia? Is it possible to change the prices depending on customs, tax, and transport costs?

A. The prices will be the same as in Europe. The goods will need some extra transportation but customs are very good in Georgia. The Government is doing what it can at its end. I mean to attract foreign investments here in Georgia, to encourage businessmen to come and invest in the market. Imagine if we had to pay big customs duties, the prices of the collections would not be the same as in Europe. We can afford however for them to be at the same level as European prices.

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Q. What about sales and discounts, how often will you be offering special sales prices to customers?

A. When the collections become old and new ones come in, the store will discount the prices of the older collection of course. This is a standard global practice of offering discounts to customers. This is fashion. Collections need to be renewed in very short periods of time. The store has a regular season and then comes the sale’s period. The sale’s period signals the impending launch of a new season, and therefore is getting rid of the old season. Discounts will be offered twice a year. Otherwise it would not be profitable for us to operate.

Q. Who are Zara’s customers in Georgia?

A. The Zara customer in Georgia is from the middle and upper middle classes of society. There is no specific age or type of Zara customer. Designers adapt trends and styles differently for each range, and also for each country, to provide as much choice and variety as possible. With fresh stock arriving twice a week there is always something new and different available.

Q. What are the needs of Georgian customers?

A. It is not about what the customer’s needs are. It is about what fashion we provide for the customer. We offer the latest fashion trends.

The thing which might make a certain country’s customers need a customized collection usually depends on weather and local traditions. With traditions you have no problem here. And weather conditions are very normal in Georgia as well. When it is winter here, it is also winter in Europe.  That means that we will be selling the same products here as we sell in Europe. Zara collections are made in many countries in the world and a large part is made in Spain. So the whole collection in Zara’s store in Tbilisi will be imported from Spain. In Zara stores customers can always find new products as they are so frequently being updated. But there will be limited supply. This process enables Zara to meet customers’ needs.

Q. In as much detail as possible, could you explain the supply chain for Zara from the raw materials to the customer’s purchase?

A. the supply chain starts with the design. The designer is capturing an idea, a trend. We have hundreds of designers. After capturing an idea they make a design, they make samples in our own factories which are in Laconia, Spain. When we see the model, if it is OK, then we start its production. If we need the collection to be ready very quickly, this can be provided by our factories. The factories are next to our offices. The entire process could take one week. After the week we need to add the logistics time, transportation time. It depends on the country. The whole process in general could take twelve days within Spain and roughly two weeks to arrive in other countries from the day the designer first has the idea for a design.

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Q. Does the Georgian market show substantial growth potential for Zara fashion?

A. The Georgian market is modern. What is happening today is that Georgians are travelling outside the country and doing their shopping abroad. What we are doing now is to bring everything to the country. So Georgian people will not need to travel outside the country and will not spend more money than they have to. We will bring all the main brands to Georgia. It will be a fashion revolution in Georgia because we are opening together with other major giants. At the same time we are opening Pull and Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, and Oysho stores. These stores will be located together in one mall. All these brands belong to Alhokair Group. The Group is the franchise of Inditex and all the brands I just named. The stores will be opened in the same mall. Tbilisi Mall is the biggest in the region, not just in Georgia. It will offer the opportunity for a real shopping experience to Georgians.

Q. Zara is expanding throughout Asia and the Middle East to reduce its dependence on Western Europe which has suffered from weak economic growth in recent years. Do you think the Asian, Eastern markets along with Georgia’s new market could somehow successfully replace the European one?

A. The concept of our brand is not suffering. It is in fact the opposite. We are taking profit from Europe because we are oriented on the middle classes of society. Many people are not rich and our brands are for them. We took the opportunity. High-end brands might be suffering but not ours. Our segment is not suffering at all. This is obvious in the results of our group.

We do not think that any brands are competing with our model of business. We compete with each other within our group actually. We bring in two collections every week. Other brands renew their collections once every month. So those brands’ customers will not be visiting the brand’s store more than once a month. When you have a brand which has new collections brought in twice a week you have the desire to visit the store frequently to check out the new stock. We have two planes coming to Tbilisi every week. This is extremely fast fashion, and will suit the Georgian market perfectly.

 

 

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