After seven weeks of complete shutdown, Zara parent Inditex is beginning the process of reopening in its home country of Spain.
On Thursday, the company began to open some of its smaller stores in Spain on a by-appointment only basis. Spain accounts for about 16% of Inditex’s total sales, and the group operates more stores there than in any other country.
Beginning on March 15, Spain had been under of the most intense lockdowns in Europe. But the country has now begun the process of loosening restrictions. The government is implementing a four-part plan with the aim of reaching a “new normal” by June. This weekend, residents of Barcelona and Madrid were allowed outside to walk, run and cycle for the first time in seven weeks. During Phase Zero, small businesses are allowed to reopen by appointment only, restaurants can offer takeout, pro athletes can go back to training and building renovations can resume.
Spain has been one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus. The country has the most total confirmed cases of any European nation with more than 220,000, as of Thursday morning data from Johns Hopkins. Globally, it has the most recorded cases of any country other than the United States. With over 25,800 fatalities, Spain has the fourth-highest death toll of any country.
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As of mid-April, Inditex allowed employees to return to work at 10 of its logistics centers in the country but only to “less than half their normal levels of activity,” according to a Reuters report. Three of the fast-fashion giant’s factories were also up and running — producing masks, scrubs and other medical supplies to help first responders fight the pandemic. No garments were being made for its fashion brands at that time.