International fast-fashion brand Zara just blew away its competition with year-end gains sure to be the envy of retailers everywhere. Zara is owned by Spain-based Inditex and the brand is one of the most exciting in retail today. It may even be in a class by itself. Just this morning Zara came up in conversation about how boring stores have become with an industry contact, fellow Forbes contributor Paula Rosenblum of RSR Research. Product has become so commoditized–a sea of sameness regardless of outlet–that it’s no wonder Amazon and Walmart are among the only retailers with positive financial performance. I used to love shopping. Just browsing stores for a couple hours was fun and offered up creative inspiration in the form of fashion or accessories I hadn’t seen before. Not anymore. Just last week I found myself in downtown Chicago with a couple hours free to wander. What had once been fun was now a chore, as I trudged through storefronts looking for something to pique my interest. Read more at Forbes.