Spanish retailer behind Zara opens buying house in Pakistan

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KARACHI: Spanish Inditex Group, the world’s biggest clothing retailer and owner of internationally-acclaimed fashion brand Zara, opened its maiden branch office in Pakistan to double its imports from the country.

“Due to Pakistan Embassy and its Commercial Section in Spain’s sustained pursuance with Inditex Group, which comprises of 8 international renowned brands (Zara, Massimo Dutti, Pull and Bear, Bershka), Inditex Group has opened its buying house in Pakistan first time ever,” a government statement said on Saturday.

“It is heartening to inform about the significant and positive development with regards to trade between Pakistan and Spain.”

The statement said Jose Manuel Romay de la Colina, representative of Inditex Group recently met Commercial Counsellor Muhammad Hamid Ali at Embassy of Pakistan in Spain and “officially confirmed opening of its buying house in Karachi”.

“Romay was hopeful that due to the presence of buying house it is likely that Inditex Group will double its imports from Pakistan in the coming year or two with additional technical collaborations in the field of textiles and design,” the statement quoted the group’s official as saying.

Romay of Inditex Group said the important development will go a long way in furthering Pakistan’s exports and building technical collaboration in the field of textile between Pakistan and Spain.

Exports of Pakistan to Spain have reached $405 million in the first five months of the current fiscal year of 2017/18. “It is likely to reach $550 million once we will include the data of December 2017 in terms of value the maximum increase in exports from Pakistan to Europe took place in Spain,” the statement said.

“We are sanguine that for the first time in Pakistan and Spain bilateral trade history, our exports to Spain will cross $1 billion mark during the current financial year of Pakistan. Similarly, it will also likely cross one billion dollars as per the financial year of Spain which is from January 2017 to December 2017.”

After witnessing slow growth during the past couple of years, outbound shipments of textile and clothing recovered eight percent to $6.642 billion in the first half of the current fiscal year of 2017/18 as exporters availed the government’s incentives to boost exports.

Government pinned much hope on textile exports, which account for more than 60 percent of the country’s total annual exports, to achieve $25 billion target for FY2018.

Inditex’s entry will be a key addition to the country’s textile market, which also has buying houses of IKEA, Walmart Global Procurement, Li and Fung Pakistan, Target and JC Penny. Foreign buying houses are engaged in procuring textile and clothing from the country, leading to increase in manufacturing activities.

Alone Dutch IKEA and US-based Walmart buy $450 million and $400 million of clothing a year from Pakistan, a senior official at a buying house said. US-headquartered Target and JC Penny procurement amount to $150 million each.

In the recent past, some foreign brands closed their buying operation in the country. Two US companies Character World and Disney are shifting buying orders to Bangladesh and other regional countries.

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