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MAR023-6 Thriving In A Competitive Global Environment

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MAR023-6 Thriving In A Competitive Global Environment

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MAR023-6 Thriving In A Competitive Global Environment

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Course Code: MAR0236
University: University Of Bedfordshire

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International Market Assessment and Market Entry Strategies
Analyse The Zalando UK website: www.zalando.co.uk.
Assume you are a marketing consultant, and Zalando has approached you to assess opportunities in the Middle Eastern Region. The following is the Research Brief you are given by Management:
Considering Zalando being a medium sized firm we want to expand cautiously and step by step.
While operating in the whole Middle Eastern Region is a long term objective at first we want to identify the most prospective market to enter. As we want to know which of the three markets the firm should enter first, we want you to undertake a market opportunity assessment.
In your analysis, examine the investment environment, effects of government interventionist policies, the market potential, the impact of regional integration initiatives, if any, and related issues with a clear identification of opportunities and threats in each of these markets.
Recommend which country the firm should enter first, explaining why. Also suggest which market entry strategy is more appropriate, with justification. Resource wise, we are confident that we will have no problem to undertake the opportunities identified and recommendations proposed in your report.


Background of the study:
Zalando is an e-commerce site specializing in branded clothing and footwear for men, women and children. Established in Germany by Robert Gentz and David Schneider in 2008, the company is currently headquartered in Berlin. Within a very short time Zalando has been successful in becoming the largest footwear seller in Europe. Apart from footwear it also sells clothing and accessories. One of the major reasons for its popularity among customers was because it housed a large number of international brands. With its aims at expanding, Zalando included children’s clothing in its inventory in 2010 and subsequently, in 2011 it started selling exclusive perfumes. Also, in 2010 Zalando acquired the online designer outlet MyBrands. This significantly increased the target consumer base of Zalando and also the range of premium products it offers.
After being firmly established in the European market, Zalando aimed at expanding globally. However, a global expansion always comes along with certain inevitable risks that the organisation has to handle efficiently. Therefore, in order to face risks in manageable proportions, the management of Zalando has narrowed down its target markets to three countries namely, Turkey, Egypt and UAE. The aim of the current research assignment shall be to determine which market among the three above mentioned countries shall be the most suitable for Zalando to enter. A number of factors pertaining to the above countries shall be put to analysis in order to find out which one shall be the most profitable. However, merely determining the country to expand into shall not be enough. After the selection procedure is over the next task for the management of Zalando shall be to formulate an effective market entry strategy that shall not only be able to ward off the imminent risks but also aid in the earning of profits in the new market. The market strategy shall be one of the most important aspects of the report as entering a new market shall involve a lot of investments for Zalando and it has to be ensured that appropriate provisions for the returns on investment are created.
Objectives of the study:
The objectives of the study are as follows:

To determine the investment environment and market potential of the three countries of Turkey, UAE and Egypt.
To figure out the best country for Zalando to enter into.
To devise the most appropriate market entry strategy that can be taken by Zalando in order to expand into the respective country.  

Research Question:
The following research questions shall be the most relevant to the current research project:

What are the market conditions along with political situations prevailing in Turkey, UAE and Egypt?
Based on the above factors, which country is the most appropriate one for Zalando to enter into?
What shall be the best market entry strategy for Zalando depending upon its resources and the nature of its business?

Addressing the question
In case of Turkey: –
Investment environment:
Turkey has highly competitive environment and investment conditions, has strong industrial and service culture and is highly friendly to all kind of business with an average time of 7.5 days for setting up a company or new business (Seker et al. 2015). Turkey has strong and skilled labour force, has sound economic performance, liberal and innovative investment climate, is centrally located among all the other Middle East nations, has developed infrastructure and facilities for welcoming new investments and it can be termed as the energy corridor with good connection with Europe (Çanakçi, 2015). Thus, it can be said that Turkey has a developed market in order to welcome different kind of investment forms and proposals.
Effects of government interventionist policies:
The country is the second biggest reformers among the OECD nations on the basis of the various restrictions on the Foreign Direct Investment since 1997. Turkey has the lowest tax rates among all the other nations in the Middle East region (Tekin and Tekin, 2015). Turkey has disinflationary and tight fiscal measures taken up by the Government which is backed up with couple of structural reforms which have ultimately aided in creating a favourable business environment in the country (Gürkaynak et al. 2015).
For providing environment to setting up of new ventures, the Government has kept on decreasing the interest rates on business loans with the help of Central Bank since the year 2002. However, the credit lending facilities has somehow got disrupted in the recent years due to stringent lending laws and procedures made by the Government. However, the Government as of 2017 has started meaning the laws and making the lending process more lucid. 
The market potential:
 Around 46800 companies with international capital and working apparatus perform in the economy of Turkey, as per the reports of 2015. Turkey has an average of 5.6% growth rate forecasts till the year 2020 (Ayd?n et al. 2016). The overall GDP rose to $786 billion in 2002, however, it fell to $859.8 billion in 2015 from a threshold of $950.58 billion in 2013 (Tansel, 2015).
It has been the 16th largest economy in the world and is expected to be among the top 10 by the year 2023. Turkey still has a huge potential in welcoming more business houses as there are least number of the facts by which business houses have to suffer or fear. 
The impact of regional integration initiatives:
Since the 1980s, the Turkey has tried to better its business relations with the European nations as well as the American and Asian countries. In the late 1980s, trade volume decreased with Iraq, the former declaring that it could not meet payments to Turkey amounting to $1.2 billion (Togan, 2015). In order to sustain the economic activities and investments in the economy, Turkey took major reforms in its policies to grow warm bonding with the European and American nations.
The economic freedom score found based on the legislative activities can be laid out at 65.4 (Heritage.org, 2018). The main threat entering in this market was stringent business laws and special privilege given to Arab based nations. However, due to the turning of its economy into a more global form, Turkey brought reforms, eased relations and made better business policies with its neighbouring states.
Porter’s Five forces for fashion accessories and apparel industry:

Threat of new entry: There is somewhat a high threat of new entry in the apparel and fashion market in Turkey. Time and cost of entry is low and due to availability of abundant resources and infrastructure, there remains a cost advantage for the entrant. Further fashion industry, needs specialized knowledge in order to take entry, which is available to Zalando unlike many other companies. Thus, there remains barrier to new entry but it is not an issue for the company.
Supplier power: There are many suppliers for supplying dresses, leather and other products at cheap prices that are required for selling the goods. Thus, supplier power is less.  
Threat of Substitution: There remains a threat of substitution for other companies in the industry but not for Zalando. With its innovative design styles and higher technology, it sells unique kind of dresses at cheap prices, which is hard to imitate by others.
Buyer power: Different buyer have demand for different kind of good. Mostly buyers are not united and diverse. Thus, they have no such say over the determination of prices for the products.
Competitive rivalry: In Turkey, mostly small firms operate in this sector. Thus, big firms like Zalando has a huge option of expansion in this market.
Government policies: The Government policies regarding clothing, fashion is sensed to be a choice of individuals. Further, Government also encourages growing up of new business in the industry. Thus, it is much advantageous for firms such as Zalando.

In case of UAE: –
Investment environment:
There are huge chances of investment in the UAE. The inward flow of FDI can be seen to be $10354 million as of 2017 and number of Greenfield investment can also be observed to be lying at $329 million (Khan and Agha, 2015). The wholesale and retail trade covers almost 25% of the market investment in which the cloth footwear and apparel industry has a considerable share (Sbia et al. 2014). There have been ample investment opportunities in this industry.
Effects of government interventionist policies:
The Government of UAE does not take any kind of direct taxes from companies or from individual people, except the sectors such as oil, banking and insurance. There stands a taxation advantage for organizations belonging from the apparel, clothing and footwear industry. There is no such stringent control on foreign exchange and in order to ensure this, the Government has tried to make UAE one of the biggest trading hubs in the world (Al-Shayeb and Hatemi-J, 2016). There is an overall political stability prevalent in the country. In case of interest and credit exchange, the Government has further lowered the credit rates on business loans in order to boost up the credit growth in the country (Khatat, 2016). This kind of positive initiative can be seen to be taken into action since 2017. There have been favourable laws in the country which allows acquisition of real estate by foreigners. As per the new Companies law passed by the Monarch of UAE, the strategic plan vision by 2021 aims to boost up the Foreign Direct Investment and as per it, in free zones, investors may keep 100% of the shares of a company (Goby, 2015). However, as a serious threat, foreign ownership of estate is not so free, non-tariff barriers to investment are seen to be in operation in the economy as, outside the free zones, a minimum of 51% of the shares of any business organization has to be possessed by any citizen of the country (Al-Waqfi and Forstenlechner, 2014). Lack of transparency in legal proceedings, weakness in the law governing the intellectual properties, slowing down of credit growth due to hectic procedures for lending credits, inefficient national statistical data analysing and maintaining and lack of flexibility in the monetary policies applied by the Government are some of the other threats slowing down investment activities in the country by foreign concerns (Mason, 2018). A local service agent also has to be hired for branches and offices run by the Foreign companies as per the laws of the country. These factors also have thus been responsible for slowing down investments and ventures in the land.
The market potential:
UAE has got responsible, hardworking and skilled labour force belonging from the young generation. In the recent years, couple of developments can be seen to be taken place in the country. The unemployment rate has fallen to 1.7 in 2017 as compared to 3.8 in 2010 (Alshamsi et al. 2018). The exports have risen considerable in 2017 as compared to the total imports, the exports lying at 20.4 and imports at -1.1 in 2017 (Abdouli and Hammami, 2018).
The inflation rate was seen to be rising till 2016, however, it had slowed down to 1.8 till 2016, but has somehow increased to around 3 in 2017. The GDP of the country in 2018 has increased to be at 3.4 after a rapid fall to 1.3 in 2017 (Alshamsi et al. 2018).
The impact of regional integration initiatives:
United Arab Emirates has been one of the biggest trading hub in the world. The economic freedom score of the country stands at 77.6 and can be pointed out to be the 10th freest economies in the world (Heritage.org, 2018). It is the first among all the 12 Middle nations (excluding Turkey) having an essence of openness towards foreign business and investments. It keeps good business relations with the American nations such as U.S and Canada. The country also shares some of the cultural traits of the Western world, in terms of clothing, apparels, shoes etc. (Mason, 2018). A huge trade relation is also shared with countries such as England and France in Europe. It has special trade relations with the middle east nations such as Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Bahrain.
Porter’s Five forces for fashion accessories and apparel industry:

Threat of new entry: Taking entry in the fashion industry of the country is pretty easy. The country has huge resources and developed infrastructure and technology. The government helps in setting up of business in less time and grants various financial assistance. There are no such barriers to entry. Thus, Zalando may face both advantage and disadvantage due to this scenario.
Supplier power: There are a large number of suppliers of fashion apparels who make it available at competitive prices. Further, fashion goods are also delivered using quicker deliver means which shall help Zalando in setting off the business.
Threat of Substitution: Threat of substitution is not a big issue for Zalando though it may be for the others. With its innovative design styles and higher technology, it sells unique kind of dresses at cheap prices, which is hard to imitate by others.
Buyer power: The power is huge in this country. Numerous people demand numerous clothes.  However, buyers have different groups and forums where they discuss and keep track on the pricing of clothes. Thus the power of the buyers seems to be superior regarding pricing.
Competitive rivalry: There are numerous small and big firms in the UAE market. They supply clothes at competitive prices. Thus, Zalando has to face huge competition from them in here.  
Government policies: The Government policies in UAE is pretty much strict and many fashion are not allowed for women. This hampers the creative innovation of the industry and put threat to its operations. 

In case of Egypt: -Investment environment:
The government of Egypt understands that attracting foreign investment is the key to achieving economic development for the nation in the long run. Therefore, the state has introduced various new legislations that shall not only encourage foreign organisations to invest in the country but also make the investment process easier and efficient (Kienle, 2015). Sahar Nasr, the minister of investment and international cooperation declared in 2018 that the government headed by the Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouli is paying great attention to international exhibitions that shall encourage foreign investment and thereby, create more job opportunities for the Egyptian youth (Daily Egypt, 2018).
However, in reality due to many reason such as stringent laws still applicable for foreign investors, the overall rate of FDI has somehow worsened in the present times. Therefore, it can be observed that the Egyptian investment environment is being pretty unstable for foreign investors.   
Effects of government interventionist policies:
The government, in order to increase foreign direct investment (FDI), is set to reducing the interventionist legislations that often curtail the scope of foreign organisations from entering the Egyptian market (shokr and Al-Gasaymeh, 2018). The business climate is being made more liberal and the bureaucratic obstacles are being removed. The governmental policies and new investment laws have opened up the Egyptian market to the world markets and made it somewhat easier for organisations from America and Europe to enter (Abou-Zaid, 2018). However, despite the attempts of the government to promote foreign investment there are many laws that hinder the same. For example, Egypt has stringent labour laws that prevent any organization operating in the country to hire more than 10 percent non-Egyptian employees (U.S. Department of State, 2018). Moreover, Egypt experiences an unstable political situation with frequent changes in governments. Therefore, situations might arise when the political climate of Egypt shall not be encouraging towards foreign companies like Zalando. 
The market potential:
Egypt boasts of being a developing economy of the Middle east and has a GDP of $314 billion as of 2018 (score of 4.5) with per capita GDP at $11,194. The inflation has decreased from 23.5 in 2017 to 21.3 in 2018.
Therefore, it can be inferred that the general population of the country shall have a substantial buying power and the products offered by Zalando shall be of interest to them. The Egyptian stock exchange is one of the most lucrative ones in the Middle East region and lists about 600 companies with an annual turnover of $6 billion (lower than Turkey and UAE) (Hashem et al. 2018). 
The impact of regional integration initiatives:
Egypt’s close proximity to the major world markets and the rapidly increasing domestic demand for foreign goods and services have prompted the government to ease up international trade barriers and increase competitiveness of the market through the entry of foreign companies. The economic freedom score of the nation lies at 53.4 as of 2018, and it can be seen to be somewhat improved since 2017 (still seen to be a threat when compared to scores of the other two countries) (Alnashar, 2018).
The government primarily seeks to improve the quality of the domestic organisations and therefore, competition from the foreign high-performing companies shall force the domestic ones to better the standards of their services (Cairo.gov.eg, 2018).
Porter’s Five forces for fashion accessories and apparel industry:

Threat of new entry: Egypt has high threat of new entry. Due to conservative approach of society towards the acceptance of new western aligned fashion and lack of adequate resources, it is a tough task to set up absolutely new business especially in the fashion and apparel industry. Thus, there remains a barrier for new entrants.  
Supplier power: Egypt has lesser number of suppliers in the fashion and clothing industry. Thus the members of the industry like Zalando have no say over the setting of price of raw materials.
Threat of Substitution: There remains threat of substitution for other companies in the industry unlike Zalando. With its innovative design styles and use of higher technology, it sells unique kind of dresses at cheap prices, which is hard to imitate by others.
Buyer power: Buyers are united and their demands and fashion sense are much similar. Thus, they have high say and force on the determination of the prices. This seems to be less profitable for the companies in the industry.
Competitive rivalry: There are few apparel and fashion industry and all those are big firms. Thus, Zalando has somewhat high risk of operating in this country.
Government policies: The government policies regarding choice and applying of fashion in dresses is strictly monitored by Egypt. The government policies are the harshest among the three nations. In this case, it would be a huge problem to properly understand the nuances of the legitimacy of fashion and sell fashion accessories as per that.

Analysis: Turkey:
Turkey appears to have a very lucrative market for foreign investment. It has a sturdy GDP and it can be inferred that the population of the country shall have a substantial buying power which shall make the premium range of products in Zalando popular in the market. Turkey has a high national income and the democratic government shall not interfere into the running of foreign businesses in the country. Therefore, the organisation shall have a considerable amount of autonomy in the conducting of its day to day operations. Moreover, the Turkish government has been steadily incorporating reforms in its legislative structure in order to improve trade bonds with America and also other European nations. Thus, it can be realised that while expanding into the country, Zalando shall receive a significant encouragement from the Turkish government as it shall provide the nation with an opportunity to increase employment and competitiveness of the market.
While on one hand UAE is an affluent country with a hugely consumerist market, there are certain restriction imposed by the state apparatus that might pose harmful for the conducting of business by Zalando in the country. For example, the law that foreign estates shall have to have 51% of its shares owned by a national of the country is a serious discouragement to foreign investment. Moreover, the procedures regarding the entry of foreign organisations in the market are obscure and consist of various interventionist processes that the government shall engage in. Even if it has a higher economic freedom score (77.6) as compared to Turkey (65.4), the overall exercising of rights on real life business practices has a much limited amount of scope.
Besides, there are certain restrictions regarding the choice of garments for women in the country and therefore, there are certain products that Zalando shall be prohibited from selling in the UAE market. This shall cut down Zalando’s potential to earn profits to a great extent. Therefore, for the best interests of the organisation, UAE has to be avoided despite the seemingly highly developed economy of the nation.
Egypt has the lowest economic freedom score, staggering at a low of 53.4, which can be said to be the lowest among the three nations considered here. Egypt has been listed among one of the fastest developing nations in the Middle East, however it is less developed and has more stringent Foreign firm entry laws in comparison to United Arab Emirates and Turkey. Further, the overall economic and political stability is less as compared to the other two nations. The overall rate of public spending on infrastructure various and many a time it is seen that maintenance of necessary infrastructural facilities gets delayed due to crisis of substantial amount of funds (Helmy and Wagdi, 2016). The sociocultural outlook is also much conservative as compared to UAE and Turkey, and in most parts of the nation still today, forced hijab for women is customary (Cagaptay and Sievers, 2015). Thus shall hinder Zalando to sell clothes and shoes mostly set in a westernized fashion approach. In order to set them perfect for Egyptian market, they have to develop new set of fashion trends which shall be much costly and hectic for them. 
Hofstede’s Cultural Analysis of Turkey:

Power Distance Index: The Power distance index of Turkey is pretty low, the people of nation questions about social norms and religious fundamentals propagated by the Islam based authority. They attempt to distribute power and exercise freedom for choosing their own clothes and life.
Individualism vs. Collectivism: In terms of fashion trends in Turkey, there is a collectivist approach. Unlike the West, a common fashion trend in clothing and footwear is prevalent among the people. This shall ease the business operation of Zalando.
Uncertainty avoidance: Turkey has a lower uncertainty avoidance index, that is people are more tolerant towards differing thoughts, fashion sensibility and ideas even if collectivism is applicable in general (Minkov et al.2017). This is unlike the other such as Egypt and UAE.
Masculinity vs. Femininity: People of Turkey have a more feminine approach as compared to UAE and Egypt, that is they care for quality of life, modesty and cooperation. Zalando in this regards shall be able to easily make demand for its high quality outerwear, underwear, hosiery, clothing accessories, footwear as well as bags.
Indulgence vs. Restraint: Turkey having a more cosmopolitan approach indulges itself more in having fun, free gratification of human desires and encourages freedom in every aspect of choosing one’s own way of leading life (del Mar Miras?Rodríguez et al.2015).
Long term orientation vs. short term orientation: People of turkey have a higher index (long term orientation) and believe in adaptation and problem solving as essential thing. They readily accept changes and reforms in the society.

Market Entry Strategy:

Joint Ventures: It is a kind of business done by two or more parties by collaborating and sharing all the risks, ownership and governance. Zalando may take up this option and collaborate with any other local fashion and footwear concern in order to reach out to the buyers and sell goods as per their requirements. The resources requiredare least, managerial responsibilities are divided between the companies. The technology required is equally supplied and handled by the two members and there remains a unified control and exercise of resources for marketing and sales. The risks associated is that there may be disputes related to financial and exercise of power and decisions making between the two companies.
Licensing: Licensing includes the authorization to reproduce or copy a patented or copyrighted product by the authority to a third party. The resources required are least as main marketing is done by the organization who has taken the license for selling. Only, costs for managing the activities of the licensee is required. Further,use of technology and quality of products shall be strictly monitored by Zalando in this case, unlike the costs that shall be handled by the licensee. The marketing and sales shall be also done by the licensee. There is limited financial risk for the licenser in this strategy. However, licensing shall not be much favourable as with it, Zalando cannot take up huge production of bags, footwear and clothes in the land of Turkey.
Franchising: It is a kind of entry strategy where a brand (franchise) licenses its business models, know how, intellectual property and brand image to be able to sell its branded products with the help of a franchisee (Ayden et al.2017). It lends all licensed things to the franchisee with agreement by which franchisee has to pays fees and comply with certain obligations. The resources required are less as marketing responsibility is shouldered by the franchisee. Only, costs for managing the activities of the franchisee is required. Further, use of technology and quality of products shall be strictly monitored by Zalando, unlike the costs, marketing and sales activities that shall be shouldered by the franchisee. There is limited financial risk for the franchiser (Zalando) in here. Thus, this can be said to be the best market entry strategy as the overall uncertainty of sales in the new market shall be shouldered by the local franchisee and as a franchisor, Zalando shall be at profit by getting their due fees.
Exporting: The company solely has to shoulder all the responsibilities to deliver the goods at the hands of the exporting agency and finally the market. Use of technology, marketing, sales and maintenance of quality lies at hands of the company as no such other agency gets involved in the selling process. Further, the financial as well as political risks are wholly shouldered by the company. Exporting of clothes, bags and footwear to Turkey can be considered to be a secondary means combining it with Franchising (Erdil and Özdemir, 2016). If there is shortage in supply, the needful can be exported to Turkey to meet customer demands. The resources required for financial, managerial and equity is huge.
Outsourcing: The mother company solely has to shoulder all the responsibilities to understand and make the work done by the outsourcing company. Use of technology, marketing, sales and maintenance of quality lies at hands of the company and they have to constantly monitor the work done by the outsourcing company. Further, the financial as well as political risks are wholly shouldered by the company. The production of clothes, bags and footwear can be somewhat outsourced by other local companies in Turkey if the company fails to produce all the products by its own. It shall be cost effective and the outsourcing agents shall help it to sense market needs and produce the exact kind of fashion apparels.

The internal factors such as the fashion goods that are being sold over in the site of Zalando, the degree of differentiation possessed by it and the overall corporate objectives of expansion, quality maintenance and supply of products at cheap price held onto by the company can be effectively satisfied by the market entry strategy of Franchising.
The external factors such as competitive intensity can be said to be not a much of concern as Zalando is a huge concern and has resources to counter the competitive rivalries. Further, size of Turkish market is huge and culture, language and tastes of Turkey is very much related to the West (the home place of Zalando). The Government policies are liberal towards entry of new firms and selling any kind of fashion products they like without proper interruption. The people are responsive towards the modern fashioned goods that are sold by the company. Thus the company should take entry into Turkish market by making use of franchising method. 
By conducting the study, it has been understood that Turkey is the first nation which Zalando should choose for entering its market. The various reasons behind the argument of choosing the most suitable country among the three have been presented here. The study has considered setting its objectives and basis of research in the first place for the market entry of Zalando. The overall research has been combined with various graphs indicating the market potential, Investment opportunities, Government policies and regional integration initiatives taken in the three of the nations. The opportunities and threats that the company shall face in each of the markets of the three countries have also be considered in the main research part so that justified conclusions can be laid upon them. The choice of nations is further justified by conducting the six dimensional Hofstede’s Cultural analysis framework on Turkey in order to understand about the social political traits present in the country. The behavioural and choice of people in the country could be readily understood before deciding about the entry of the company in Turkey. Further, the study has also considered making the right kind of choice in relation to the market strategy which the company should choose in order to take entry into the Turkish market. The whole study has ended on the note of providing proper recommendations in the later part which has pointed out the perfect market strategy which the company should succumb top in order to be able to conduct its business in the new market.
It has been clearly understood that Turkey shall be the most suitable country where Zalando should take the entry at first. Turkey has the most liberal economic and social laws, and has the most freedom in carrying out business activities in terms of fashion and clothing. It is the most westernized nation as compared to Egypt and UAE. Thus, it shall be hugely profitable and easy for Zalando to enter the Turkish market and sell westernized fashionable clothes, underwear, bags and footwear without any interference from the Government or the people of the land. Further, it can also be recommended that Zalando should choose Franchising as the most suitable market entry strategy for entering Turkish market. If the demand exceeds their supply, then only, the company can export the products to Turkey in order to cover up the overall demands. A small section of the products can also be outsourced to some local cloth manufacturing companies if the Franchising and exporting cannot suitably meet the overall demands in the country. Zalando, after taking the entry in Turkey should further try in developing and innovating its products in order to meet up the changing needs and requirements of the people of the country.
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