10,821 $m
Zara continues to expand its empire, with sales increasing 18 percent in 2012. New store openings in emerging markets and development of its digital strategy have driven growth. It opened 120 new stores—reaching 1,925 retail venues in 86 markets —and announced the launch of its e-commerce platform across high-potential markets such as China, Russia, and Canada. Zara now operates online in 21 countries. Though it is not known to be ad-driven, the Inditex-owned brand is evolving its visual communications image to express a more sophisticated and aspirational brand image based on four key pillars: beauty, clarity, functionality, and sustainability. Flagship stores in New York, London, and Madrid have revealed the great effort that the company is investing toward reinventing the brand in order to maintain its relevance and position in the market. Environmental and social welfare issues have represented a risk to the fashion industry and Zara has not been immune to these challenges. Sustainability will play a key role in building Zara’s credibility, reducing risks for the brand in the future, and a strong strategy on this front is key. It obtained LEED Gold certification for its Melbourne store in June 2012 for a 37 percent reduction in water usage and the adoption of a lighting system that saves 10 percent on energy expenditure. Zara was also new to Interbrand’s Best Global Green Brands report this year.