Zara takes Manhattan

Zara, part of Spain’s Inditex Group, has opened its biggest U.S. location, a 32,000-sq.-ft., three-level flagship on a primo stretch of Manhattan real estate: Fifth Avenue at 52nd Street. The store is part of a 90,000-sq.-ft. retail condominium that also houses Hollister and Uniqlo flagships.

Featuring a chic black and white theme, the new store represents Zara’s updated brand image and revamped architecture and interior design scheme. It has a sleek, modern feel and displays the fast-fashion retailer’s merchandise offerings (for women, men and children) in intimate in-store boutiques.

On each of the three floors, the store is organized around two long corridors or "catwalks" that lead to intimate boutique-like spaces or cubes on each side. Each space showcases a specific collection.

The wood furniture used throughout is finished in neutral elegant colors and textures reminiscent of fabrics such as linen or silk.

According to the company, Zara’s new store image is based on four principles: beauty, clarity, functionality and sustainability. On that last note, the store is expected to consume 30% less energy and 70% less water than conventional shops.

Specific eco-friendly features include:

  • Motion detectors in the storeroom dim the area's lights by 80% when no one is present. Motion detectors for lighting are also installed in restrooms and back-of-store corridors.
  • The lighting dims to 66% of normal during janitorial and merchandise loading and unloading shifts.
  • Electronically regulated air curtains at store entrances prevent the influx of colder or hotter air from outside.
  • Speed-controlled mechanical escalators help reduce energy.
  • Energy-intensive systems are turned on in a sequential pattern to prevent demand spikes.

To date, Zara has opened 47 stores in the United States, six of which are in Manhattan.

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