Zara customers in Spain will lose out on free returns unless they take it to a physical shop or third-party drop-off points.

Inditex SA, the owner of fast fashion chain Zara, will start charging Spanish shoppers for returning items bought online. This mirrors a strategy it had previously rolled out in most of its other markets.

Zara customers in Spain will now have to pay €1.95 to return an order, unless they take it to a physical shop or third-party drop-off points where returns remain free. The fee applies for all Inditex brands, which include Pull & Bear and Massimo Dutti, according to a company spokesperson.

Zara already ended free returns in other markets

The A Coruna, Spain based-firm, the world’s biggest clothing chain, had started charging for returns in the earlier part of 2022 in countries where it has a smaller presence than in Spain, including the United Kingdom, France and the United States. Spain accounted for 14.2% of the group’s overall sales as of July 2022.

The shift to end free returns gained traction across the apparel industry last year as retailers sought to contain costs amid accelerating inflation across the globe. Spain was among the Western European countries that recorded the highest inflation rate in the earlier part of 2022, having reached double digits during the summer months. It has since dropped to 5.8% in January, below most other nations in the region.

To be sure, the strategy had been a headache for retailers from the get-go as returns are costly because of the labor to have them shipped back, inspected and put up for resale.


Large Inditex rivals, such as Hennes & Mauritz AB and Fast Retailing Co’s Uniqlo, charge for online returns in Spain.

Zara parent Inditex Group ranks No. 8 in Digital Commerce 360’s Europe Database.

Digital Commerce 360 data on free returns

Digital Commerce 360’s research shows that 43.4% of the apparel retailers in the Top 1000 provide free return shipping as part of their return policies.


But that could be changing. Nikki Baird, vice president of strategy at Aptos, a retail technology company, sees retailers moving their return policies away from free shipping and free return shipping.

“Rather than free shipping, it seems retailers are more concerned right now about putting in the right returns policy,” Baird says. “And more and more of them are looking at adding restocking fees.”

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