The company chairman and chief executive officer, Pablo Isla, made the announcement on the eve of the reopening of Zara’s first and biggest Italian store, located in Milan.
“We want to make our fashion collections available to all our customers, wherever they are in the world, even in those markets which do not currently have our brick-and-mortar stores,” said Isla.
The group counts eight labels under its umbrella, including Zara, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho, Zara Home and Uterqüe. Inditex operates 7,448 stores globally in 96 markets and operates online in 49 markets.
Isla also highlighted that all of the group’s brands will adopt the integrated stock management system by 2020 in all the countries in which there is a physical store presence. This system enables the fulfillment of online customer orders with store inventory, through radio frequency identification technology (RFID). This is already fully deployed at Zara and Uterqüe globally, and is being rolled out across the rest of the brands.
In particular, the integrated stock management system will debut in Italy starting Thursday in the revamped Milanese flagship.
First established in 2002, the unit is located in the city’s central Corso Vittorio Emanuele II shopping district, in a historic building that represented for years a Milanese social and cultural hot spot as it housed the Cinema Astra movie theater from 1941 to 1999.
Conceived by Spanish studio Elsa Urquijo Architects, the restyled interior design of the four-storied unit pays homage to the venue’s original architecture, as it stays true to the layout of the former cinema but enhances it with modern elements and digital implementations.
In addition to the integrated stock project enhancing the brand’s omnichannel approach and enabling customers to receive shipments in a shorter time — within 36 hours — the store also features a corner for online shopping.
Aimed at offering a new, agile and easy shopping experience, the section displays a selection of the brand’s latest proposals that customers can purchase and pay online, through mobile phones, or at a dedicated checkout area. Then, their shopping will be shipped to their address or they can collect it in-store through a reserved counter, where clients scan the QR code or enter the PIN they received in the shipment confirmation e-mail and pick up their order in a matter of seconds, thanks to a system that can manage up to 900 shipments at the same time.
In the store, technology is also at service of sustainability. An efficiency digital platform centrally monitors and controls the store’s air conditioning and electricity, optimizing their management and maintenance and reducing energy demand.
The system operates an automatic lighting program that adapts to the store’s function, reducing 66 percent of the lights while the store is being cleaned; automatic movement sensors in areas with little traffic that dim lighting by 80 percent when not in use, and thermostats that are adjusted according to store occupancy and sunlight, saving 40 percent compared with traditional systems.
In particular, the Milanese store registers a 40 percent saving in water and 20 percent saving in electricity compared with a conventional retailer.
Currently, 80 percent of Zara doors are eco-efficient but the company said it also aims to make all its units sustainable by 2020.
Regarding the interior concept of the unit, the goal was to evoke and enhance the architectural heritage of the location.
The entrance atrium’s key, historic features including the two lateral staircases, marble flooring, rich mosaics on the walls and the Murano glass chandelier have been preserved and juxtaposed with white, curved yet minimal stucco panels that invite customers into the store.
“We wanted to keep the monumentality of the venue, but make people flow in the store,” said architect Elsa Urquijo on Wednesday, underscoring that the goal was to create a clear, clean and intuitive environment where customers are encouraged to move around.
The entrance hall is also the designated corner to showcase special collections, as the seasonal Studio line and a limited-edition capsule collection are available just in this Milanese store. The latter features basic, refined garments in cold and nude nuances — reprising the colors of the mosaic decorations — in addition to a printed dress recalling the marble pattern of the floor.
Inside the store, white, curved lines dominate the 37,674-square-foot retail space, dedicated to women’s wear and children’s wear collections. This marks a net break with the previous concept, which favored essential black interiors. “Our main idea was to enhance the clothes, the focus needed to be on them,” said Urquijo about using white as a canvas to said purpose.
Inspired by the former movie theater’s parterre, the overall project has a radial design. Curved panels on the ceiling and metal structures bearing LED lights — each carrying numbers in a nod to the cinema seating — create wavy elements in the direction of the cash desks, while oval patios in the middle of each floor interconnect the store’s different levels, making it easier to see the building as a whole.
The verticality of the design concept culminates in the skylight which recalls the Murano chandelier in the entrance. The column-inspired, curved lines of the walls also reference the original architecture of the venue and have been treated with an ochre-colored stucco in different shades of toasted and earth tones to match the furniture.
Brass and dark metal displays and essential mirrors furnish each floor, where circular, independent areas are created to separate collection themes.
To mark the Milanese reopening, an event will be held at the store on Wednesday evening. For the occasion, the façade has been embellished with a Cinema Zara sign and Broadway-inspired light decorations.