Zara started in 2012 a process called "optimization of the commercial surface", which consists of open stores flagship (shows) larger and in first level locations. In this process, neighborhood stores have been closed in favor of emblematic stores in commercial streets in the city centers. As a result of this process, the rhythm of net store openings of the different brands of the group has been reduced to its minimum expression, barely 15 in 2018, the lowest number with difference in the history of the chain. And in addition, the stores have gained weight. For example, stores in Spain of the group's main brand, Zara, have grown 50% in average area in the last five years.
"I would stop paying attention to the number of stores", answered the president of Inditex, Pablo Isla, when he was reminded, in the press conference after the results presentation, that the company announced that in 2018 it would close the year with 150 more premises and the reality has divided that figure by 10. It has called to focus on the commercial area, which this year has grown by 4.7%, to 4.96 million of square meters throughout the world. "In 2019, we will exceed five million," Isla announced, with a 5% growth.
The surface growth has been clearly noticed in Spain, where Zara stores are today, on average, 50% larger than five years ago, going from 1,452 square meters to 2,184. Of course, the 417 stores Zara (Zara and Zara Home) that had opened on December 31, 2017 have become 411 a year later. In total, Inditex has 1,635 stores of all its brands in Spain, 53 less than a year ago. The surface, said Isla, remains stable in Spain, with "a slight upward trend".
In any case, Isla warned, "the policy of optimizing the commercial surface never ends". Of course, you will lift your foot off the accelerator, which also means that you will invest less money. If in 2018 1,512 million euros were invested, in 2019 they will be 1,400. And in the next few years, much less. "The intensity with which commercial optimization has occurred in 2017 and 2018 and will occur in 2019 is no longer going to occur," the president announced.