MADRID | J.P. Marín Arrese | Chairman Isidoro Alvarez’s death this week has commanded widespread emotion. He embodied El Corte Inglés’ soul, leading it to become Europe’s largest department store. Thanks to formidable growth, coupled with a unique business model, Alvarez sought and implemented widespread changes to company practice from the 90,000 strong work force, thorough his personal commitment to the firm. In exchange, he preserved full employment even when faced with dwindling sales during the crisis. He also drove a fully self-financed expansion, ruling out indebtedness and support from capital markets.
MADRID | By Fernando G. Urbaneja | The death of Isidoro Álvarez, the legendary Spanish retailer and El Corte Inglés chairman, comes at a moment of critical importance to the company. Urgent strategic decisions are required at one of Europe’s most peculiar and inimitable businesses. El Corte Inglés’ model is unique with those with extensive knowledge of the firm concluding that is has its own defining characteristics.