Increasingly, the retailer is finding it can slash that time to 40 days, using Zara-inspired tricks like holding fabric stock itself, Tata said.
For nearly a decade, Tata Group has been Inditex SA’s partner running Zara stores in India. Now, the country’s largest conglomerate is building its own apparel empire as trend-focused as Zara — but at half the price. Its retail arm, Trent Ltd., has fine-tuned its local supply chain to deliver “extreme fast fashion” which can get runway styles to customers in just 12 days, the same compressed timeline that’s turned Inditex into a $90 billion empire. Trent now plans to open 40 outlets of its flagship Westside chain every year and hundreds of its mass market Zudio stores, where nothing costs more than $15, across India, said chairman Noel Tata in an interview in Mumbai. The target audience: a consumer population that is newly trend-conscious and globalized, but whose low average incomes means that clothing from Zara itself is still mostly out of reach.
“The middle class is growing, incomes have grown, Indians are traveling more and they have more money to spend,” Tata said. “Now that we’ve built this capability and this model that’s working so well, it’s time to grow faster.”Trent, part of the $111 billion salt-to-software Tata conglomerate, is hoping its quick and responsive supply chain will help it become as ubiquitous in Asia’s third-largest economy as Zara is in the West. But it’ll need to fend off competition from both local brick-and-mortar stores as well as e-commerce giants to do so. India’s total household spending will quadruple from $1.5 trillion now to $6 trillion by 2030, making it world’s third largest consumer market, according to a January report from the World Economic Forum
The population’s “sense of fashion” has evolved, especially over the last three to four years due to smartphones and Internet data penetration, said AbhijeetKundu, an analyst with Antique Stock Broking Ltd. “Every consumer wants to wear the latest fashion. Even if that consumer is from a smaller town, he will try to dress like a movie actor.”