What seems great today, in two weeks is the worst idea ever." So says Loreta Garcia, head of the Zara Woman's Trend department, as she talks to Fortune about spotting new styles by following bloggers, visiting clubs, checking out street fashion, listening to customers--anything but going to designer fashion shows.
Speed is everything at Zara, owned by Inditex, the world's largest fashion retailer, with 6,000 stores in 85 countries. Zara follows the rule of refreshing stock twice every week, year in and year out, so inventory turns are high. Customers know that if they don't buy a style when they see it, it may not be there next time. That's a recipe for full-price retailing.
Even though Zara stores dot the globe (see map above), no store is more than 48 hours away from a shipment of the freshest fashion (Inditex intros 20,000 new items every year). Controlling the entire supply chain enables Zara to ensure quality and quantity in time to catch the wave of the latest style--and be ready to launch the next new look within days.
Can fashion get any faster?