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Fashion retail group benefiting from Asia openings

The owner of the Zara fashion chain reported an 11% rise in sales since the start of November yesterday, despite unseasonably mild weather in parts of Europe and the bleak economic outlook.

Spain's Inditex gave the update on recent store sales as it reported results showing a 10% rise in profits to €1.3bn (£1.1bn) for the first nine months of the year.

The company has benefited from its expansion in Asia and the roll out of online operations, although profits were up 14% at the half-year stage in a sign conditions have toughened for the retailer. Inditex continued its pace of expansion in the first nine months with the launch of 358 new stores, bringing the total to 5,402 at the end of October.

The group, which opened its 2,000th store in 2004, has launched its first stores in Taiwan, South Africa and Azerbaijan, with Georgia and Peru being the next markets set to be targeted.

It said the pace of store launches was particularly intense in China, with 79 openings in the first nine months, bringing the total number of stores in the country to 250. South Korea was also a big destination for store openings with eight new Inditex stores launched, including the country's first Pull-amp;Bear, Bershka and Stradivarius stores.

There are 94 Inditex stores in the UK, with Zara leading the way with 73 stores.

The company does not provide a regional breakdown of its sales figures.