Internationalisation of the Spanish Fashion Brand Zara

Topics: Management, Project management, Scientific method, Strategic management, Organization, Psychology / Pages: 31 (7568 words) / Published: Jun 5th, 2012
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Internationalisation of the Spanish fashion brand Zara
Carmen Lopez and Ying Fan
Brunel Business School, Uxbridge, UK
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. Keywords Fashion, Retailing, International marketing, International business, Market entry, Spain Paper type Case study

Spanish fashion brand Zara

Received May 2007 Revised June 2008

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Carmen holds a MSc in Marketing from the University of Stirling and has over three years’ experience working in the advertising industry, both in Spain and in Ireland. Her PhD topic aims to investigate the influence of corporate image on country image. Ying Fan is a Senior Lecturer at Brunel University in West London. He has held faculty positions at the Universities of Durham, Hertfordshire and Lincoln. Dr Fan has published over 50 papers relating to marketing and international business. He is currently undertaking research on nation branding in relation to emerging Chinese multinational companies. To purchase reprints of this article please e-mail: Or visit our web site for further details:

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