The controversy over the ability to make sales without crowds in fashion and textile stores, which are now beginning to open the doors of their physical stores, is more than overcome in online sales in some of the main brands operating in Spain, such as Zara and the ensigns that encompass the Inditex group. Beyond confinement, the Amancio Ortega firm has been able to maintain a good level of sales through its website both inside and outside of Spain, and it reaches the de-escalation with an average daily output of 50,000 packages online, which is equivalent to between 220,000 and 290,000 units, the same traffic that the brand usually has in full sales in the pre-Covid era.
For this reason, since at least last week, the logistics operator that manages Inditex shipments from Guadajalara has activity intensified at its main center, with two shifts of 600 workers and one night shift of 300, as this newspaper has learned. This is a volume of shipments similar to that handled by Inditex during the sales periods prior to the coronavirus crisis and which represents the culmination of a long-haul plan outlined for over a month by the company to weather the storm.
This upturn in sales on digital channels has been essential for the company to take advantage of the genre that had accumulated in closed physical stores. In fact, from the past April 16 has been recovering gender from its establishments without activity. At that time, work was reactivated in approximately 290 stores of the 1,580 that it currently has in Spain solely and exclusively to recover unsold ‘stock’.
Sources in the sector also warn that Inditex considered the possibility of reopening all physical stores from this Monday, something that has finally been possible even in the Phase 0 areas of the de-escalation, yes, always keeping all the security measures. Obviously, the situation of the stores, which are now starting to work little by little, has nothing to do with the progress of the digital business, which has not stopped.
The logistics center that handles Zara merchandise in Guadalajara, in which some 1,500 people work, has reached store over two million Zara items during the cessation of all non-essential activities (known as ‘total economic hibernation’) decreed in late March by the Government. However, from April 1 it resumed the activity when establishing the Government decree that online sales were excluded from the compulsory paid permit.
Relocate schedules for 25,000 people
Inditex, which has been one of the few companies that has not applied an ERTE to its workforce, has chosen to move a large part of its workers to the online business and stores of less than 400 square meters, which for a couple of weeks they operated under strict hygiene and health prevention regulations, always by appointment. Precisely, the need to accommodate the more than 25,000 people who work in Zara’s physical sales network to maintain activity as much as possible in the new store conditions and hours, has generated criticism from the unions, some of the which have come to threaten to file lawsuits or request inspections.
Sources of the workers warn that the plan that the company has presented to them responds to the need to establish tight shifts to ensure safety, something that, in such a large group, has generated some situation of incompatibility of the hours of the centers reopened two weeks ago (those that operate by appointment) with the pre-existing conciliation agreements. By having to always work shifts with the same colleagues for health prevention reasons, many of the rights already acquired with the company have gone into the backgroundAlthough it will only be during a transitory period and in the face of the pandemic situation that is being experienced.
From the workplace it is recalled that the company has always proposed flexible measures to get around the special situation that is lived and to be able to return to normality as soon as possible. In fact, the workers who had their winter holidays closed and agreed in the midst of a pandemic, have been released from that commitment so that they can take their days off at another time or redeem it for work hours bags. To avoid the ERTE to which the organization could be seen, even many of the employees who could be affected have been relocated in the new needs generated by the ‘call center’ for the management of online orders.
Starting this Monday, all Inditex brand stores will be able to reopen without having to make an appointment and with limited areas for establishments of more than 400 square meters. In addition, they must meet various requirements by decree: limit entry to 30% of the capacity, minimum distance of two meters between clients, only one person on the premises and preferential times for people over 65.