Zara bets on innovation for new Paris store
Only a few hours after releasing its quarterly results, Spanish clothing group Inditex has opened a new store in Paris. This Thursday 13 December, Zara opened the doors of a 3,500-square-metre space, bringing its new store concept and latest innovations for the first time to France. Located at 54 Boulevard Haussmann in a unit formerly occupied by H&M, the store replaces a former Zara shop at number 39 on the same street, as FashionNetwork.com exclusively revealed in October.
Continuing Inditex’s store estate review, Zara moved to the same street albeit on the other side to revamp its presence in the heart of the Opéra neighbourhood. The relocation allowed the brand to triple the size of its store from 1,500 square metres to 3,500 square metres in a 19th century building that enjoys greater visibility thanks to its location on the corner of Boulevard Haussmann and Rue Charras.
Whilst situated adjacent to fast-fashion rival Mango, which is based next door, the relocation puts Zara next to two strategic neighbours: Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. And the change of address will aim to attract shoppers who are visiting the department stores, as well as the loyal base of fans who had already shopped with the brand at its former unit.
Completely renovated by an in-house team to showcase Zara’s new image and sustainable store concept, the space has only retained the escalators left by H&M, its former tenant when it moved to a 5,000-square-metre flagship store on rue La Fayette.
With a refined, light-filled, “premium” look, the boutique boasts of up to 37 fitting rooms and a larger stockroom. The brand’s women’s collection are showcased on the ground floor, while the men’s, Basic and TRF collections occupy the lower ground floor. But the label’s children’s collection is nowhere to be seen: it isn’t part of Inditex’s plans for this store, which is located just 400 metres from its XXL Opéra flagship.
Like it did for the grand reopening of its Vittorio Emanuele store in Milan, Zara has presented a collection of limited-edition pieces to celebrate the launch. They are available exclusively at the Haussmann store, with the aim of delighting visitors and driving footfall. From a red velvet dress to a black double-breasted suit, the collection also includes a pair of handbags, sandals and studded trainers. The hero piece is a black leather coat for men, on sale for a higher price point than most Zara styles. Its €500 cost doesn’t seem to worry staff, who are sure it will sell out in the blink of an eye.
But perhaps more interestingly, the new store features a range of innovations designed to integrate the brand’s online and offline channels to improve the shopping experience. Due to be rolled out across the distribution network by 2020, these include iPads for store staff and RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology, as well as smart mirrors, which will be launched in the coming weeks. Also new is an automated collection point for online orders - the first in the French market. Located on the lower ground floor, the automated order collection point obliges customers to walk around the store and possibly encourage impulse buys.
Now available in store in Milan, Bilbao, Amsterdam, Glasgow, Liverpool and Leicester, the automated system can handle 900 online orders, with customers encouraged to collect their parcels directly in store using a QR code. Behind a screen, a 10-square-metre machine organises and delivers parcels previously prepared by staff in a matter of seconds. Unlike the Milan store, which has an online section featuring a selection of the latest launches in the click-and-collect area, the Haussmann boutique doesn’t have this format. However, company representatives underline the group’s intention to turn this store into a strategic hub for its integrated stock management, given its location in one of the capital’s business neighbourhoods and its proximity to the train station of Saint Lazare.
Currently, Zara operates in 202 markets worldwide, including 49 markets where an integrated stock management has been adopted. Emphasising its ambition to sell online everywhere in the world by 2020, the group’s core brand Zara launched online sales in 106 new markets through a global website in November. The company, which leads the group’s distribution network with 2,118 stores worldwide, has around 20 stores in Paris.
In the first nine months of the year, Inditex opened stores in 51 markets, adding 20 stores to its total by the end of July. The group’s net profit 4.1% to 2.43 million euros, while sales grew by 3% to 18.43 million euros.
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