Zara is the latest fashion brand to start closing retail stores across the globe due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has kept many shops closed since mid-March.
On June 12, the fast-fashion retailer’s parent company, Inditex, announced its plans to shut down between 1,000 and 1,200 brick-and-mortars over the next two years and divert resources into online sales strategies.
It’s not yet known exactly which Zara locations will be affected, but the closings will be “stores at the end of their useful life” and “whose sales can be recovered in nearby stores and online,” the company said their statement.
Under that plan, Inditex CEO Pablo Isla confirmed the company will “increase the online customer service teams and the dedicated packaging both from the specific online stockrooms and from the stores,” as well as offer customers “uninterrupted service no matter where they find themselves, on any device and at any time of the day.”
Isla added that the company plans to invest $1 billion into its online shopping platforms over the next three years and another $1.7 billion on upgrading stores to be better equipped by “deploying advanced technology solutions.”
Inditex reported a loss of about $460 million between February and April, coinciding with the shutdown of worldwide locations due to social distancing mandates, according to the Guardian. Online sales, however, rose by 50% during the same quarter, compared with the previous year.
Shoppers can expect similar announcements to come from some of their favorite brands. Coresight Research predicts as many as 25,000 U.S. Stores could close this year. (For context, nearly 8,000 and 9,300 stores closed in the U.S. In 2018 and 2019, respectively.)
Within the past week, Fast Company reported, The Children’s Place, Guess, and Signet Jewelers all announced store closures, while Victoria’s Secret, Gap, and JCPenney have also confirmed they’ve been forced to close some of their doors due to the crisis. It’s clear that shopping malls as we knew them before COVID-19 will never be the same.
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