Zara owner Inditex profits rise on clothes sales surge


Madrid (AFP)

Spain's fashion retail giant Inditex, owner of popular brand Zara, on Wednesday posted an eight-percent rise in first-half profits thanks to a surge in clothes sales around the globe.

One of the world's largest fashion retailers said profit for the six months from February to July rose to 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion) from the same time a year earlier.

"All of the group's brands increased their international presence during the period, with 83 new stores in 38 countries," Inditex said in a statement, adding that it ventured into three new markets -- Aruba, Paraguay and Nicaragua.

Sales in the first half rose 11 percent to 10.5 billion euros.

The results of the company, which operates eight store brands including Zara, upmarket label Massimo Dutti and teen chain Bershka, beat analyst expectations, but only slightly.

All brands posted a rise in sales.

Zara and home decoration brand Zara Home were the clear winners, posting a 13-percent and 17-percent rise in sales respectively.

The retail empire was founded in 1975 by the discreet, publicity-shy Amancio Ortega, who has since become the world's second richest man after Bill Gates.

Its main competitor, Sweden's H&M, regularly challenges it for the global number one spot.