Zara profits up by 27pc as expanding 
chain bucks gloom

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THE Spanish owner of fashion chain Zara posted a 27 per cent rise in profits after another year of rapid expansion at the retail giant.

Inditex added 360 new stores in 54 different markets in the nine months to October 31 and said its estate has since reached the 6,000 mark with last week’s opening of a new flagship store on London’s Oxford Street.

The latest openings helped power a 17 per cent rise in net sales to 11.4bn euros (£9.2bn) for the nine-month period.

Profits improved to E1.65bn (£1.3bn).

The expansion has helped the group, which also trades as Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Pull and Bear, to buck challenging conditions in its economically-challenged home market.

It added that group sales were up 15 per cent in local currencies between August 1 and December 9.

Inditex is only reliant on around 25 per cent of sales within ailing Spain after growing its overseas operations and increasing sales online.

The group has been focusing particularly on Asia in recent years, where it now has around 18 per cent of sales. It launched an online store in mainland China in September to add to more than 250 shops in the country.

There are around 100 stores in the UK, with the majority under the Zara brand.

Zara has stores in Hull, York, Sheffield and Leeds.

The company does not provide a regional breakdown on its trading performance.

Inditex launched in 1975 when it opened the first Zara store in Spain. It initially expanded throughout Spain before setting its sights overseas, moving to the US in 1989 and the UK in 1998 along the way.

The firm is now present in 86 markets worldwide following the recent opening of the company’s first stores in Armenia and Macedonia.

It employed 116,000 people at the end of October, a figure which grew by 6,500 in the first nine months of the year.

Inditex, one of the world’s largest distribution groups, designs, produces and sells through its global retail network.