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    SNEAK PEEK: Zara arrives in Denver’s Cherry Creek mall just in time for the holidays /Link

    Cherry Creek got an exclusive new store under its Christmas tree, and shoppers can unwrap it starting at 10 Thursday morning.

    Cherry Creek got an exclusive new store under its Christmas tree, and shoppers can unwrap it starting at 10 Thursday morning.

    Fast-fashion clothier Zara is ready to welcome shoppers to the Denver store it announced in March.

    The Spanish brand’s first and — so far — only Colorado location brings 32,000-square-foot of clothes and accessories to two floors of the Denver shopping center at 3000 E. First Ave. The store is across from the Neiman Marcus, off the plaza where Santa Claus has set up shop for the season.

    “We’re excited to be here in Denver,” Zara spokeswoman Amaya Guillermo said. “Denver is a fashion-forward city in the U.S.A. and also we have found this amazing location in Cherry Creek.”

    With white walls and surfaces and a simple, open floor plan, the focus inside Zara is on the merchandise. Coming in the ground floor entrance, shoppers will first see selections from the retailer’s evening collection. The entire first floor is dedicated to women’s clothing, as is a significant chunk of the second level. Men’s and kids’ items have dedicated rooms upstairs.

    The prices are comparable to hip competitors like H&M and Uniqlo. Women’s jeans are going for $39.90 at Zara Cherry Creek, the same price as a pair on the Uniqlo website. H&M has pairs online for as little as $9.99, but its “premium quality” jeans are going for $49.99. 

    “Very excited,” Cherry Creek shopper Anna Brown said Wednesday as she peaked in Zara’s window. Brown has shopped at Zaras in other cities. She said the brand is “on-trend, pretty descent quality and the prices are good.”

    Zara was founded by now-billionaire Amanico Ortega. Ortega turned what was one location in Spain in 1975 into one of the world’s biggest fashion empires. Zara parent company Inditex Group (also owner of Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Zara Home) saw revenues eclipse $25.7 billion last year, up from $10.4 billion in 2008. Inditex has 7,422 stores around the world, including 99 in the U.S. The Cherry Creek Zara is No. 100.

    Zara takes “fast fashion” literally. It has in-house sourcing, logistics and production arms, relying on suppliers in Europe, Turkey and Morocco to keep its operation economical and sustainable. It also has 300 in-house clothing designers. The designers use data sourced from stores to produce new merchandise, which is then pumped out online and to physical locations.

    “We are creating, always, new products and new designs that we are delivering to all Zara stores twice per week,” Guillermo said. “That will be the same in Denver.”

    The Cherry Creek store was designed with sustainability in mind. Using in-store sensors to monitor how many people are shopping, Zara will regulate temperature and humidity inside. Thanks to LED lighting and other features, it is expected to use 20 percent less energy and 40 percent less water than a standard retail store.

    Online Zara orders can be picked up in the Cherry Creek store, and exchanges and returns can be handled there as well.

    Counting Zara, Cherry Creek now has 40 stores that are unique to the shopping center in the local market, general manager Nick LeMasters said. That’s 25 percent of its total merchant count. Exclusivity is a major focus for Cherry Creek at a time where retail centers are competing with each other and online sellers.

    “To get a first-to-market store like Zara is so important for the shopping center,” LeMasters said. He predicted it would draw customers from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs.

    Aside from Zara, the mall will soon welcome a North Face store — relocated from the nearby Cherry Creek North district — and French luxury fashion brand Hermes, LeMasters said.

    The biggest changes in Cherry Creek are taking place outside the main mall corridors. After Bed Bath & Beyond bolted for Glendale, its standalone building is now being occupied the District Shops, a craft and local makers market with goods from 300 producers.

    Bed Bath & Beyond’s former neighbors, the Container Store and Macy’s Furniture Gallery, recently relocated to the former Safeway on the east side of the shopping center. Redevelopment plans for the center’s western property along University Boulevard are coming.

    “It does allow us to begin with something of a blank slate on the west end as we contemplate what form that might take,” LeMasters said, emphasizing the center’s owner, Taubman Properties, is looking for the right partners for any redevelopment work. “It will likely be mixed-use, which isn’t necessarily what we do. It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity.”

    (@)Joe Rubino

    Published on 14 Nov 2018 at 08:10PM

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