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Sandton City to start off the new year with no Zara

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International fashion retailer Zara’s oldest store in South Africa at Sandton City will be closed for the first three months of 2023 to make way for the store’s extensive makeover, the group has confirmed.

The overhaul will see the store align with the internationally owned brand’s global vision.

Confirmation of Zara’s plans for the flagship store came after concerns were raised on social media in early December that the Spanish retailer – owned by multinational clothing company Inditex – may be closing several of its stores in the country to apparently focus on building its online offering.

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However, Zara denied that any closures in SA were on the cards in an emailed response to queries from Moneyweb.

“Zara remains committed to our customers in South Africa and this is bolstered by the extensive refurbishment and enlargement of our flagship store at Sandton City shopping centre in Johannesburg,” the group said.

“First launched in 2011, Zara Sandton City will be updated to showcase the brand’s new global concept,” it added.

Headquartered in Spain and listed on the Spanish Stock Exchange’s Bolsas y Mercados Españoles, Inditex is one of the biggest ‘fast fashion’ groups in the world, operating more than 6 3oo stores. It currently has seven Zara stores in South Africa, largely in major malls like Sandton City, Gateway, Menlyn Park, the V&A Waterfront and Mall of Africa.

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Inditex, which does business across 215 markets, also owns brands like Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Oysho, Stradivarius and Zara Home.

The retail giant says the Zara Sandton City location is only expected to reopen in the second quarter of the new year.

Shoppers who frequent the Zara Sandton City store will have to divert their shopping to the retailer’s online store or alternatively shop at Zara’s other stores in Gauteng.

“Zara remains committed to providing our customers in South Africa with a fully integrated and seamless shopping experience in both our physical store as well as on online,” said the retailer.

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Zara was loath to disclose any specific details about the value of its investments and future expansion plans in SA to Moneyweb.

However, the retailer did highlight that it had opened a new store at Canal Walk shopping centre in Cape Town earlier this year.

In May 2022, we opened a new concept store at Canal Walk shopping centre – this opening marked the second new concept store in the country following the extensive expansion and refurbishment of the Zara store at the V&A Waterfront shopping centre in 2021,” Zara said.

Group growth

Inditex on Wednesday, 14 December, released its interim results for the nine months ended October 2022. According to the group, its sales were positive across all its geographical locations, with sales in constant currency growing 20% to €23.1 billion.

“Over the 9M2022 traffic and store sales increase markedly. Key to this was store differentiation,” it said.

“Online sales continue progressing satisfactorily and were above the record figures of 9M2021,” added Inditex.

For the remainder of its 2022 financial year, the group says its future expansion will be greatly supported by investment in its stores, making progress in online sales growth and improving its logistics platforms – placing particular focus on innovation, technology and sustainability.

Inditex added that it expects its online sales to exceed 30% of total sales by 2024.

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