Bargain Shopper Blog

Zara Sydney & Melbourne — overrated or genuine bargains?

Bargain Guru - Friday, June 17, 2011

Written By Samantha Lee

If you’ve been in Sydney in the past few months and consider yourself a seasoned shopper, chances are you’ve been swept up in Zara mania.

The Spanish-based retail giant, which opened the doors of its flagship Australian store in Westfield Sydney on April 20, has been met with loads of excitement and about as much controversy.

Shoppers are still flocking to the Pitt St store and enduring checkout queues, seduced by the promise of on-trend and affordable clothing. Considering the brand’s international reputation for bringing catwalk-quality designs to the masses, Zara is already being hailed a game-changer in Australian retail.

But despite all this hype, I’m still left to question whether its overseas reputation has truly been realised here in Australia.

Word from the blogosphere is that Sydney’s store has become a dump-site for leftover European stock. Some unconvinced bloggers have described our Zara as a let-down, particularly those who have shopped at its sister outlets worldwide. Others can’t see what all the fuss is about, providing feedback that nothing in stock looks even remotely catwalk-worthy nor does it live up to expectations about clothing quality.

Visiting the store myself, I failed to find many of the clothing items that I recognised from the collection available online. Zara Sydney’s selection seems to lack the choice of styles and vibrant colours that have won the brand international acclaim. Asking one of the floor staff about its range, she reassured me that this collection was customised and chosen specifically for Australian shoppers, which may explain why much of the clothing and accessories stray from those available overseas.

Admittedly the prices are incredibly reasonable. Shoppers can pick up a pair of tailored pants for $50, t-shirts for $20 and winter knitwear from around $60. The garment quality, however, is still questionable. After attempting to try on several items with broken zippers or missing buttons, I left with two knit jumpers, one of which is already unravelling less than a week later.

What’s your opinion on all the Zara hype? Have you been there yet? Do you think it’s overrated?

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