>@EIB/El Corte Inglés

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a EUR 116m loan with El Corte Inglés at a ceremony in Madrid. This financing will help the Spanish company to implement its digital transformation project. El Corte Inglés is one of the world's leading department stores, and with the EIB’s help it will launch a new digital technology programme to benefit its customers and put it in the best possible position to compete with the online retailing giants. EIB Vice-President Román Escolano and El Corte Inglés Director Carlos Martínez Echavarría today signed this loan, which is guaranteed under the Investment Plan for Europe.

El Corte Inglés will use this EIB financing to expand the investment needed to provide its customers with a new integrated online retail platform, enabling it to strengthen its multichannel online and mobile sales, and create efficient synergies with its brick-and-mortar stores. At the same time, and to adapt to this digital transformation, the EIB loan will help the company adjust and optimise its supply and distribution processes to improve cost control and make it even more competitive. This technological transformation project – which will be implemented over the next two years – will also make it possible to strengthen all of the company's IT infrastructure to facilitate continuous adjustment to consumer preferences and flexible supply chain management.

As well as supporting digital innovation, the aim of this EIB loan is to contribute to job creation in Spain. El Corte Inglés has more than 90 000 direct employees and is one of Spain's largest private companies in terms of job creation. The implementation of this project – made possible by the support of the Investment Plan for Europe – will enable it to create the new highly qualified positions needed for its digital transformation.

This EIB loan will enable El Corte Inglés to make the necessary investment in new technologies and compete in the online retail industry, a sector in a constant state of growth and transformation,” said EIB Vice-President Román Escolano at the signing ceremony today. “This EIB financing will have a major impact not only for El Corte Inglés but also for the entire Spanish economy, as it will help improve the competitiveness of one of the country's biggest private employers.”

“Innovation, quality, service, variety, specialisation and a seal of guarantee have always been at the heart of El Corte Inglés’ identity. It was with this in mind that we decided to invest in online retail and a multichannel approach, facilitating better integration between our brick-and-mortar stores and the digital platform. Our aim is for our customers to have full access to the entire store via the mobile device of their choice, so that they can make a purchase however, wherever and whenever they like,” said El Corte Inglés Directors Florencio Lasaga and Carlos Martínez Echavarría.

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "The Investment Plan can play a crucial role in helping European businesses to embrace the digital technologies that will drive their future growth. I welcome the news that today's agreement will allow El Corte Inglés to take full advantage of the benefits of adopting advanced digital technologies to aid their continued success."