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Zara owner's profits up 6% ahead of new Belfast store

By Holly Williams

The owner of high street fashion chain Zara posted better-than-expected profits after notching up sales growth across all its markets worldwide.

Inditex - the world's biggest clothing retailer - posted a 6% rise in net profits to €554m (£438m) for the three months to April 30 after seeing sales rise 17%, with currency movements stripped out.

The company is set to open its second Northern Ireland store on Belfast's Donegall Place, across the road from its existing Zara. It is to unveil its first Stradivarius - a sister clothing brand to Zara - this summer.

Inditex cheered like-for-like sales growth in all its markets, including the UK, with total sales hitting €4.9bn (£3.9bn) as it expanded its global footprint further and launched more online sites.

The group added that sales so far in the second quarter to June 13 were 15% higher on a constant-currency basis.

Rival fashion company H&M also posted figures showing a surge in sales last month, up 9% after poor performances in March and April.

H&M - which has 4,077 stores worldwide - said overall sales in its second quarter to May 31 were 5% higher.

Inditex said it added another 72 stores in 31 markets in its first quarter, taking its total to 7,085 stores in 91 markets.

It recently opened its first stores in Aruba, Nicaragua and Paraguay.

As well as Zara and Stradivarius, the group owns brands including Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Oysho and furnishings offering Zara Home.

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