Zara owner boosts profits by expanding worldwide
Spanish firm Inditex, the world's biggest clothes retailer, boosted its profits 10 percent by opening hundreds of new stores from February to October, it said on Wednesday.
Net profit for Inditex, owner of the Zara brand, rose to 1.302 billion euros ($1.697 billion), 10 percent higher than for the same period a year earlier, said the group, which counts its financial year from February.
Sales also rose 10 percent to 9.9 billion euros, it said in an earnings statement.
"The company's global multi-brand strategy paid off by delivering significant penetration of recently-opened markets by Inditex's younger formats," such as the high-street clothing brand Bershka, it said.
"Inditex continued the pace of its openings in the first nine months, unveiling 358 new stores in 45 markets," it added.
"As of 31 October 2011, the Group had 5,402 stores and a retail footprint spanning 78 markets, after inaugurating its first stores in Australia earlier in the year."
It has since entered other markets including Taiwan, South Africa and Azerbaijan, and plans to open stores in Georgia and Peru in the coming months.
The group's chairman Pablo Isa told reporters in a telephone conference that China is now a key market for Inditex, which aims to have about 270 stores there by the end of the year.
The group's online sales are also taking off since launching in September 2010, he said, without giving figures.
The announcement sent Inditex stocks up by 3.55 percent in morning trading on the Madrid stock exchange, which was slightly down overall.
Inditex is thriving despite worsening economic conditions, with its shares rising by 14 percent over the past year.
© 2011 AFP