AFTER becoming a loyal Zara shopper while living overseas, there was no way Emma Van Wyck was going to miss the arrival of the Spanish fast fashion retailer in her own backyard.
Wearing a shirt emblazoned with the word Zara on the front, Ms Van Wyck and her friend Hayley Wallace were two of the first shoppers through the doors of the store when it opened at Westfield Kotara on Thursday.
“Half of my wardrobe is Zara so finally having one here is amazing,” Ms Van Wyck said.
“I sent Hayley a message and said ‘We’re going’, she did not get a say.
“We only had to wait for 10 minutes to get in.
“It’s so bright, everything is spread out and organised, it’s not cluttered and you don’t have to dig through like you do in some of the stores overseas.”
The friends were looking for everyday wear for summer.
Ms Van Wyck bought two t-shirts with fanned sleeves, while Ms Wallace bought two t-shirts and perfume.
“I really like how Emma dresses and used to ask, ‘How do I get that?’ and I know I’ll be back,” Ms Wallace said.
“It’s affordable, the quality is good and there’s so much to choose from,” Ms Van Wyck said.
“You can get cheap basics, but if you want to splurge you can do that too.”
Morgen Stassi was the first customer to make a purchase from the men’s section: two long-sleeved baroque print collared shirts, a basic t-shirt and a cream coloured jumper.
“I knew I wanted the baroque shirts, I just needed to try them on,” he said.
“I go to the Zara in Sydney every couple of months and I wanted to compare this to the ones in Europe.
“Zara will have a lot of newer stuff from around the world than the other stores in here have.”
Carla Clark said she regularly shopped at Zara’s online store for herself and her one-year-old son, Nova.
“I love the kids stuff – it suits everyone – but size one is always sold out online,” she said.
“I thought I’d come in early to quickly grab a few.
“It’s better in store anyway – you get a better idea of what it looks like and the fabric.
“I go to Melbourne quite a lot but now we have everything here.
“It’s great for Newcastle and will attract more people to the area.”
The 2500 square metre white-washed store is located in the carpet mall and is the retailer’s 19th in Australia.
Centre manager Kate Murphy said Zara told Westfield Kotara its opening date a week ago.
“Excitement was building and we knew people were in here working, it was just about locking down that date,” she said.
“Zara is perfect for the fashion forward who want trends straight from the runway at a reasonable price – the turn around is so quick and there are two drops a week of the latest fashions. Once the stores are sold out of items they are not replenished. If you find something you love, don’t wait a week!”
Ms Murphy said 100 new parking spots on level 1M opened on Thursday morning and another 200 covered spaces would open next to dining and entertainment precinct The Rooftop next Thursday.
She said Gorman, The Academy Brand and Savant Apothecary will open by November 29.
Kmart and The Rooftop’s Cold Rock and Sushi Musa will open on November 29.