Isidoro Álvarez, widely credited with transforming El Corte Inglés into Spain and Europe’s most successful department stores, passed away in Madrid after suffering respiratory problems brought on by “unexpected heart problems”, company sources announced.
Founded by his uncle in Spain’s capital in the 1930s, Álvarez helped to convert the small tailor shop into a fully furbished retail store.
He became president of El Corte Inglés (which means ‘The English Cut’ in Spanish) when his uncle died in 1989.
Álvarez spearheaded the takeover of rival company Galerías Preciados and bought up several supermarkets which are now an inclusive part of the stylish department store.
El Corte Inglés currently has 91 department stores across Spain, employs a total of 93.300 people and made €174 million in profits in 2013, the Spanish edition of the Huffington Post reported.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy described Álvarez on Sunday as a “global reference for the retail sector and an icon of credibility and trusts for many families and consumers.”
His death comes just a few days after Emilio Botín, chairman of the Eurozone’s largest bank Santander Group, died of a heart attack.