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Internationalisation of the Spanish fashion brand Zara

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Purpose ‐ Research on the internationalisation of retailing has been mainly focused on market entry issues. This paper attempts to examine the internationalisation process from an international marketing perspective using Spanish fashion retailer Zara as a case study. Design/methodology/approach ‐ An in-depth case approach was adopted based on extensive secondary research, which includes literature published in English and Spanish as well as internal company documents. Findings ‐ The internationalisation of Zara seems to follow the classic "stage model" by firstly entering geographically or culturally close markets before taking opportunities in more distant markets. This global expansion was triggered by both push and pull factors. Compared with the competition, Zara has three distinctions: vertical integration to achieve a faster turnaround time; use of franchise and joint ventures for rapid expansion; and use of the store as the main tool for promotion, with low spend on advertising. Research limitations/implications ‐ The main drawback in case studies is that of limited validity and representativeness, constraining the potential for making generalisations. However, this case is deemed sufficient to provide valuable insights and improve understanding in this area. Originality/value ‐ Little attention has been devoted to the internationalisation process from an international marketing perspective. Aiming to fill this gap in the literature, this study provides important insights into Zara's internationalisation process.
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Keywords: Fashion; International business; International marketing; Market entry; Retailing; Spain

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 08 May 2009

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