Q&A: Does Zara Franchise in the UK?

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zara franchise

As one of the biggest fashion brands in the world, Zara is a would-be franchisee’s dream investment. But does it offer franchising opportunities in the UK?


Zara is a well-known name on the British high street and across the globe. With around 2,250 stores already in operation, the brand benefits from excellent exposure and access to some of the world’s most lucrative markets. Here, we take a look at how the company grew to achieve its cult following and whether Zara franchises in the UK.

The Spanish apparel retailer is part of the Inditex group, which also owns Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Stradivarius. Inditex operates in 202 markets and has a combined workforce of over 170,000 people in over 7,000 stores. As a result, it is the largest clothing retail group in the world. Zara is considered its most prestigious brand. Let’s now take a quick look at the history of the brand…

History of Zara

Zara was founded in 1975 by Amancio Ortega and Rosalía Mera and began life as a single store in the heart of A Coruña, Galicia. The business aimed initially to sell affordable products based on high-end fashion by utilising innovative manufacturing techniques.

During the 1980s, Ortega and Mera worked to refine the design and manufacturing processes that allowed them to get their products to market as quickly as possible. The idea was to create “instant fashions” that were responsive to the latest trends and that would change as quickly as consumers’ tastes did. Zara’s first store outside of Spain opened in Porto, Portugal in 1988 and the first in the UK opened in 1998.

Since then, Zara has focused on pioneering new technologies for greater efficiency in its supply chain and store management. The business also has a “no advertising” policy, preferring to spend the money it would put aside for marketing on opening new stores and facilitating further expansion.

So, is it possible to be part of the brand that is valued at approximately $18.4 billion through franchising in the UK? Unfortunately, no, it’s not. In the past, Zara has offered franchising opportunities to large organisations that it feels have the capital and capabilities to maintain the brand’s high standards and introduce the business to a new market.

The brand seems to be moving away from the Zara franchise model and attempting to acquire back franchises in the vast majority of European markets. Presumably, as Inditex is the largest retail group in the world, its management team does not consider it necessary to offer franchising opportunities to facilitate further expansion.

How to get involved with Zara

To kickstart a career with Zara, check out its international employment portal. Or, you can see below for some of the best clothing franchise opportunities on the market.
But first, let’s have a quick look at the current state of the fashion industry in the UK, so you know you’re making the right business decision.

The clothing market in the UK

We spent around £58.3 billion on clothing in the UK in 2018. It’s also thought that around 414,000 people are employed in the retail industry and play a part in our purchases.

Clearly, finding the perfect outfit and keeping on top of the latest trends is very important to the British public.

Similar franchise opportunities

Fancy joining an industry that is worth £32 billion to our economy? Check out our top four fashion franchise opportunities in the UK right now.

1. Noa Noa

Bring the spirit of the Bohemian woman to your local high street with a Noa Noa franchise. This sustainable fashion franchise retails clothes that are made with the intention of representing strong women and allowing customers to feel like their true selves. In a world of fast fashion, Noa Noa prides itself on offering a collection that will stand the test of time. Its clothes feature great attention to detail and striking colour contrasts.

All clothing collections are designed in Denmark and produced across the world, making Noa Noa a brand with the potential to go global. It’s a proud member of the Business Social Compliance Initiative and makes sure it operates ethically. Since it was founded in 1981, Noa Noa has opened more than 90 concept stores and can be found in over 350 multi-brand stores across the globe.

  • Becoming a Noa Noa franchisee: Noa Noa is looking for people with previous experience in the fashion industry to help expand the business. So, whether you’ve run your own company or worked in a managerial role in another store, Noa Noa wants to hear from you.
     
  • How much you need to invest: You’ll need to be prepared to invest at least £40,000 to get your store up and running.
     
  • What you get for your investment: Franchisees will also be able to access guidance and support whenever they need it. As part of the initial set-up process, store designer Christian Baumann will spend three days at each new location to ensure everything goes to plan. And, to make sure your store is dressed to impress, visual merchandiser Satijana Blazeska will create stunning displays ready for your grand opening. What’s more, you’ll also be able to access marketing materials and training for your staff, as well as seasonal materials throughout the year.

A lucrative industry We spent around £58.3 billion on clothing in the UK in 2018

2. M&Co

This is one of the largest privately-owned retailers on the British high street. After being in business for over 50 years, M&Co now operates from over 300 stores and turns over more than £200 million each year.

  • Becoming a M&Co franchisee: To learn more and sign up, click here.

  • How much you need to invest: We suggest contacting the franchise to get more information about the investment cost, as this hasn’t been made available on the website.
     
  • What you get for your investment: You’ll receive training and support from a dedicated franchise team and benefit from competitive prices on orders.

3. Aftershock London

After launching 25 years ago, this fashion franchise is active in over 25 countries. Every collection is inspired by seasonal catwalk trends that loyal customers can’t get enough of.

  • Becoming an Aftershock London franchisee: It asks that you have retail experience, particularly in women’s fashion, and connections with shopping centres.
     
  • How much you need to invest: This hasn’t been disclosed on the website, but you can fill in an enquiry form to gain further information.
     
  • What you get for your investment: You can make the most of the franchise team’s expertise and support with the store fit-out.

4. Calzedonia

As one of the leading fashion retail brands in the world, Calzedonia has a large and loyal customer following. Its unique Italian fashion range is offered in around 4,000 stores worldwide. Want to open the next one?

  • Becoming a Calzedonia franchisee: If you have previously run your own retail store, are business-minded and have access to the financial requirements, then Calzedonia encourages you to apply.
     
  • How much you need to invest: It costs between £50,000 and £100,000 to own your own store. You should be able to get a proportion of this from banks to help you.
     
  • What you get for your investment: Every franchisee will be supported through the entire process by their area district manager. There’s also national advertising that you can benefit from. Find out more here.

Can’t start a Zara franchise?

As you can see, there are a number of other exciting clothing franchise opportunities out there for you to consider. You can see our full list of clothing franchises here. Or, if you’ve still not read enough Zara-related information for one day, you can see another one of our articles about who its CEO is.

>> Read more articles on the Clothing sector

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