Belfast Telegraph

Zara owner enjoys 6% profits rise as sales grow across fashion retail sites

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 554 million euro (£438 million) for the three months to April 30 after seeing sales rise 17%, with currency movements stripped out.

It cheered like-for-like sales growth in all its markets, including the UK, with total sales hitting 4.9 billion euro (£3.9 billion) 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 fast-fashion firm 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, the group also owns brands including Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho and furnishings offering Zara Home.

Stradivarius opened its largest-ever store on London's Oxford Street in the group's first quarter.

Inditex's expansion created more than 11,930 new jobs in the quarter, of which 2,385 were in its domestic Spanish market.

Chairman Pablo Isla said: "Thanks to the group's strong growth we are able to generate jobs in all our business markets, most notably, in Spain."

Analysts at Liberum said Inditex's success comes from its "relentless focus on full price sales".

They added: "T he company's continued delivery of the fashions that customers demand is underlined in today's sales update."