SPANISH clothing giants Bershka, Pull & Bear and Stradivarius have announced they are closing their stores in China in a shock move that could spell disaster for stores in Spain.

Parent company Inditex made the announcement that it would close its high street stores in China to focus its attention on online sales.

As part of a dramatic change in its business model, CEO of Inditex Pablo Isla, explained that the company has been focused on online sales for a number of years.

“We are simply trying to follow trends,” said Isla, “young people are increasingly using online stores and with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting physical stores across the world, the decision makes sense.”

As part of the restructuring, Inditex announced that it would close many of the smaller stores in key countries and amalgamate them into larger flagship stores.

“Inditex will broaden and complete its store technology upgrade plan, which will continue the policy of opening larger stores and absorbing smaller units” said the company website.

In an interview with La Voz de Galicia, Isla explained that Zara, Massimo Dutti, Oysho, Uterqüe and Zara Home would remain open for now but by the end of the year they plan to drastically downsize across the globe, including Spain.

It is estimated that between 1,000 and 1,200 stores are on the chopping block, but it is unclear how many are in the company’s home country of Spain.

The news will be a huge blow to shop workers in these popular stores.

With many closing during the pandemic, and with stock dwindling, retail sales have seen a downturn in 2021, even over the Christmas period.

Compared to the same period in 2019, Inditex saw a drop by over 45% in Spain of in store sales with 88% of it stores closing.

According to the company’s website however, Isla remains confident that stores will still play a part in 2021’s business plan.

Isla announced that it’s flagship stores will receive a total of €1.7 billion in upgrades and store to online integration.

Each store will also become more and more sustainable, using less and less energy and using more renewable energy, recycling all materials and eliminating single use plastics.

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