Spanish clothing retailer Zara is in the midst of a global expansion, but it won’t involve the U.S. Some say it’s our country’s lack of style, but others say we’re just too fat. Apparently, re-sizing their line to fit the average American would just cost way too much. Instead, they’re opening 400 stores in still-thin China.
In a recent New York Times profile of the massive clothing chain, Spanish marketing professor José Luis Nueno explained that the U.S. is “a graveyard of European retailers” because everyone outside of coastal, urban areas wears a generic American uniform:
Fashionistas live on the East and West coasts. Then everyone else dresses in the Gap and Walmart and T. J. Maxx. If you really wanted to cover the U.S., you would have to open 300 stores, and they would have to focus all their energy to make it work.
But that’s not the only problem: Columbia Business School professor Nelson Fraiman said the style doesn’t fit Americans–literally:
Zara to me is a European store for European style; it’s very fashion forward. And what is the problem in America? They don’t fit in the clothes. So why do it? Having to make larger sizes makes production so much more complex.
This isn’t the first time someone’s pointed out the mis-match between American bodies and Zara’s style; earlier this summer, The Economist diplomatically noted that their “trendy cuts and slim fits” are less popular outside of America’s big cities, and Elle pointed out their “size problem.”