Owner of fashion giant Zara sees profits soar worldwide
Zara owner Inditex, which operates three stores in Northern Ireland, has rung up an 18% surge in first quarter profits after another double-digit hike in sales as it continued its worldwide expansion.
The world's biggest clothing retailer, which is based in Spain, said net sales rose 14% to €5.6bn (£4.9bn) in the quarter to May 1, or 12.5% with currency changes stripped out.
Inditex has three stores in Belfast - its flagship brand Zara and its more casual sister Stradivarius are located on Donegall Place, while there is a Pull & Bear shop, aimed at the teenage market, in Victoria Square Shopping Centre.
This helped it notch up €654m (£575m) net profit for the quarter, up from €554m (£487m) a year earlier.
Inditex said all its brands increased their international presence as it continued to secure its global dominance of retail fashion.
It opened 30 stores in the quarter and has 7,385 outlets across 93 countries. Two years ago, the company invested in a major revamp and extension of its Belfast Zara shop.
The group - which also includes the brands Bershka, Oysho, Zara Home and Massimo Dutti - added that sales had remained stable so far in the second quarter, with constant currency sales up 12% overall between February 1 and June 3.
The firm said it had created nearly 10,700 new jobs in the past year.
Zara launched online in Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam in the quarter, with a site in India due to be operational by the end of next January.
Inditex's first quarter results also announced that it had distributed €42m among 84,000 employees during April, as "phase two of its extraordinary employee profit-sharing plan".