Zara: Fast Fashion

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ZARA: Fast Fashion
The Spanish retail chain Zara has unique supply chain management practices that enable it to gain a competitive advantage over other fashion retailers in the industry. Zara’s rapid response time enables the firm to quickly respond to changing fashions while deliberately under producing products. This strategy, which is supported by competencies in logistic management, design and information systems, allows the company to maintain less inventory and higher profit margins and is a key factor to Zara’s success. The firm should continue to add value by seeking new opportunities to expand in the retail market and maintain their sustainable growth. Financial Analysis

Being aware of a company’s financial health and profitability of its competitors is highly essential for everyone interested in engaging in business with Inditex. In this part of the paper, through analysis of 4 key ratios and return on invested capital, we are going to discover some of the company’s drivers of sustained competitive advantage. The 4 key ratios will focus mainly on company’s liquidity, activity, solvency and profitability, while ROIC will show how well the company manages the capital invested in operations of the business. In order to measure ability of Inditex to meet its short term obligations and to assess liquidity, it is important to calculate current ratio. As shown in exhibits section below, in 2001, Inditedx had 1.02 million in current assets, while Gap and H&M had 1.48 and 3.4 million Euros in current assets for every Euro in short-term debt. This indicates that Inditex’s main competitors demonstrate greater ability to meet current payments of debt; therefore liquidity is not one of the company’s success drivers. When it comes to comparing company’s sales to various assets categories it is significant to take a look at the total assets turnover. This ratio indicates how efficiently assets are being used to support sale. From 1999-2001, this ratio increased by 1.2%; however it was still below industry performance. Currently Inditex is industry leader with total assets turnover of 1.8. This shows that company’s recourses are being well managed and that company is able to realize high level of sales from its investments in property, plant and equipment such as manufacturing facilities. Debt to equity ratio is used for solvency evaluation. The main purpose of this ratio is to show company’s ability to repay long-term creditors. As shown in exhibits section, this ratio decreased from 1999-2001, however, when compared to its rivals, Inditex confirmed to have the best leverage among them. When it comes to company’s financial flexibility and profitability it is highly essential to calculate Net Profit Margin ratio. This ratio measures how successful a company has been at the business of making profit for each euro earned. As presented in the exhibits section, Inditex was and still is an industry leader with Net Profit Margin ratio of 10.6% in 2001 and 13.10% in 2010 which means that company has currently €.13 of net income for every dollar sale. In addition, according to Inditex’s income statement, we could see that company is delivering higher net income due to its ability to keep operating expenses and COGS much lower than competitors. Furthermore, the company is able to gain sustained competitive advantage by making its own products, efficiently covering lower advertising expenses and maintaining cost-effective number of employees per store. In order for Inditex to maintain continuous growth it is important to keep its profit margins at the high level. Last but not least ROIC (Return on Invested Capital) gives a good judgment on how well a company is using its money to generate returns. Inditex ROIC varied through past couple of years but is currently able to earn around 7% on each euro invested. From the exhibit table below, we could conclude that the company is making wiser investment decisions than its...
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