Madrid — While major industry leaders here say nobody does it better, there are some heirs apparent nipping at Zara’s heels. How close is the competition?

Mango: Spain’s second-largest apparel exporter (women’s only) after Inditex, with 600 stores in 68 countries and forecast retail sales for fiscal 2002 of $1.6 billion. The chain, which manufactures the majority of its merchandise like Inditex, is currently targeting the European market, especially the United Kingdom and France, according to Salvador Vallés, of Mango’s expansion department. "These countries have a potential not yet exploited," he said. In addition, openings are scheduled this year in Bulgaria and Estonia. Last June, the Barcelona-based company opened its first Australian unit for a retail presence on five continents. As for the United States, "We plan to open stores in major American cities by 2005. But nothing is clear yet," said Vallés.

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