Zara owner posts big profits surge after store growth
The owner of high street fashion chain Zara, which recently revamped its Belfast store, reported a 28% profit surge for the first quarter as the retailer grew like-for-like sales in all regions.
Global retail giant Inditex said net profit climbed to €521m (£380m) for the period from February 1 to April 30 as revenues rose 17% to €4.37bn (£3.18bn), or by 13% on a constant currency basis.
The Spanish-based group continued to expand stores and its online platform internationally, adding a net 63 stores in the period in 27 different markets, ending the first quarter with 6,746 outlets in 88 countries.
A new Zara in London's Oxford Street, as well as its extended Belfast premises, were among prominent openings, with others in Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Montevideo and Copenhagen.
Other brands, which include Zara Home and Massimo Dutti, also expanded.
But of seven sister brands, Pull & Bear - aimed at the teenage market - is the only one with a presence in Northern Ireland, with one shop in Belfast's Victoria Square.
The group said it added 8,580 jobs in the past 12 months, of which 1,671 were in Spain.
Its revamped Donegall Place store in Belfast now has 1,600 sq metres of retail space - 400 sq metres more than previously - and now employs 103 people, up from 60 in the old store.
It said that at the end of the year, most employees would be in line to share in a new bonus scheme pay-out of 10% of the growth in net profit.
All workers in stores, manufacturing and logistics, retail chains and subsidiaries around the world who have been employed for more than two years will be eligible to participate.
Inditex had 101 UK stores at the start of this year. Its latest figures said there was like-for-like growth "in all geographies" but did not give a breakdown by country.
Analysts at Jefferies said the results were "impressive, albeit in line with expectations".
Two floors in the new Belfast shop have been devoted to the womenswear collections featuring both the Zara and Trafaluc brands.