European recovery helps profits at Zara owner Inditex climb 5%
Clothing giant Inditex, owner of the Zara brand, said Wednesday its profits rose five percent last business year, driven by recovery in its key European markets.
The rise brought its net profit to 2.5 billion euros ($2.65 billion), the group said in an earnings statement on its 2013-2014 financial year ending in January.
It said net sales rose eight percent to 18.12 billion euros. Inditex is the biggest clothing firm in the world by sales.
Europe accounts for two thirds of Inditex's sales but it is expanding worldwide.
It opened 343 new stores in 2014 including in Shanghai and Miami, bringing the total to 6,683 stores worldwide include high street brands such as Massimo Dutti and Bershka.
It said it hired more than 8,700 new staff last year, including 1,800 in its home market and logistic base Spain, which is gradually recovering from an economic crisis.
"We continue to see huge growth opportunities in both western and eastern Europe," said its chief executive Pablo Isla.
"We believe that Inditex is in an excellent position to take advantage of global growth opportunities," he told a news conference Wednesday at Inditex's headquarters in northwestern Spain.
The company said it planned to further expand this year by opening up to 480 new high street shops, including a flagship store in New York's SoHo district and one in London's Oxford Street.
Inditex shares were 2.31 percent higher in mid-morning trading Wednesday on the Madrid stock exchange, whose key index was slightly down overall.
© 2015 AFP