Now that Zara has its own website in the US (as of today), H&M IS preparing to do the same! H&M—Zara's main European rival, whose prices are a bit below that of Zara—plans to launch a U.S. online store this spring. H&M already has Web stores in serving eight European countries. Its first website, in Sweden, launched in 1998.
According to the Wall Street Journal, while Zara lacks the visibility that H&M has, "analysts say Zara performed better in the economic downturn than rivals including Gap and H&M because of the tight control it has over production and the speed with which it can get the latest trends from the design table to stores...Store managers communicate directly with Zara designers and feed them data on what sells well and what doesn't. If managers say a polka-dotted-black dress is flying off the racks, it is able to turn around quickly and churn out polka-dotted dresses in other colors and have them in stores in a matter of weeks."