Inditex, the Spain-based apparel retailer that operates the Zara brand, is looking to Asia for expansion and seems to be having an easier time of it than many of its competitors. Thanks to new agreements with local companies, Inditex may be able to solve some of the problems related to entering Asia. To expand in Korea, for instance, the company formed a joint venture with Lotte Group, a Korean conglomerate that owns a 20 percent stake in Zara Korea. In India, Inditex earlier this year sealed a partnership with the giant Tata group, which controls interests in everything from autos and steel to IT and telecoms.
Despite the tough economic environment, Zara seems to be well positioned to keep up with its growth in Asia compared with its competitors. San Francisco-based Gap owns stores only in Japan, although it has introduced the Gap brand in other countries through franchise agreements. Sweden-based Hennes & Mauritz has only been in the region since 2007 and operates just 22 stores. British retailer Marks & Spencer has about 60 stores around the region. Inditex has more than 150 stores in Asian capitals.
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