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The founder of Zara, Amancio Ortega, opened the first Zara store in 1975 in a central street in A Coruña.

Its first store featured low-priced lookalike products of popular, higher-end clothing fashions. The store proved to be a success, and Ortega started opening more Zara stores in Spain. During the 1980s, Ortega started changing the design, manufacturing and distribution process to reduce lead times and react to new trends in a quicker way, in what he called "instant fashions". The company based its improvements in the use of information technologies and using groups of designers instead of individuals.

In 1988, the company started its international expansion through Porto, Portugal. In 1989 they entered the United States and in 1990 France.

This international expansion was increased in the 1990s, with Mexico (1992), Greece (1993), Belgium and Sweden (1994), etc. until the current presence in over 70 countries.

Zara stores are company-owned, except where local legislation forbids foreigner-owned businesses. In those cases, Zara franchises the stores. www.zara.com