Rosalia Mera, a seamstress who co-founded a clothing store in northwestern Spain that grew into one of the world's largest retail chains, has died at the age of 69. She was Spain's richest woman and a major stakeholder in Inditex SA, the owner of the Zara chain that expanded rapidly across the globe over the past several decades. Inditex issued a statement Friday confirming her death but didn't provide more details and declined comment via email. Spanish media widely reported that Mera suffered a stroke while on vacation on the Mediterranean island of Menorca and died Thursday night.

Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco Wholesale Corp. plans to open 20 new U.S. store locations in 2012, according to “We would expect increased expansion activity as we’ve got more in the pipeline, as well as an ongoing increase proportionally of some of the overseas expansion, which tends to be a little more expensive in some of these very densely populated major cities,” said Jim Sinegal, co-founder of Costco Wholesale Corp. The company is reportedly considering expansion in major European cities, including Paris and Madrid. Costco currently operates 598 warehouses, including 433 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 82 in

True Religion Apparel plans to open 25 new stores in 2012. Ten of the 25 new stores are slated to open in international locations, and the company is negotiating to open in more markets across Europe and Asia.

Athletic apparel, footwear and accessories retailer Under Armour has opened its first European outlet store in Madrid. The space offers high-value shopping in a high-end environment, with a design that strikes a balance between Under Armour’s high-performance athletic goods and its aggressive, intense brand image.

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