Zara owner Inditex profits rise 32%

Zara store
Image caption Zara is targeting further international growth

The world's largest clothing retailer, Inditex, which owns Zara, has posted a jump in first-half profit after opening new stores and gaining new customers.

Inditex reported a net profit of 944m euros ($1.23bn; £758m) for the six months to 31 July, up 32% on the same period last year.

Net sales rose 17% to 7.2bn euros, while like-for-like sales, which excludes new store openings, rose 7%.

Inditex's other brands include Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Oysho.

The group opened 166 stores in the first half of the year, taking its total store count to 5,693 across 85 countries.

It said it had invested 450m euros in its home market of Spain - in commercial and logistics activities aimed at supporting international growth.

Online push

Inditex also gave an update on trading in the current quarter. It said that sales between 1 August and 17 September were up 17%.

It is also making a push into online retailing. It launched Zara online in China on 5 September and has plans to start Massimo Dutti and Zara Home online sales in the US in October.

"The drivers are certainly there - the rapid roll-out of online sales and fast fashion - but even so it's a spectacular performance," said Societe Generale analyst Anne Critchlow.

"Online is allowing Inditex to access customers that wouldn't be near one of its concept stores," she added.

Shares in Inditex were up 3.8% in morning trading in Madrid.

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