Profits at the fashion empire Inditex, owner of Zara and Bershka, jumped in the first quarter as its store total rose to 7,385.
For the period from 1 February to 20 April, Inditex's net sales grew 14 per cent, rising to €5.6bn (£4.9bn).
Net profits jumped 18 per cent to €654m as compared to the same period in the prior year. The group's margin edged up from 58.1 per cent to 58.2 per cent.
The trading update was in line with expectations. At time of writing, Inditex's share price was down 1.8 per cent to €35.22. Over the past year, shares at the group have climbed by more than 25 per cent.
The group now has 7,385 shops in 93 countries.
Why it's interesting
Inditex owns eight retail chains in total, including Zara, Pull & Bear, Bershka, Uterqüe, and Stradivarius.
Zara has become dominant in the fashion marketplace for being able to rapidly turn catwalk looks into wearable, inexpensive clothing. The brand has been rapidly expanding worldwide, launching its online platform in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam in the quarter. In the second half of the year, Zara will start selling its clothing online in India.
Meanwhile, Zara has been extending its physical presence on high streets across the world. It opened a flagship store in Mumbai in May, and in Madrid, it opened a four-storey outlet covering 6,000 square feet.
What Inditex said
In a statement, Inditex said: "The company continued to invest in growth through the constant modernisation and renewal of its stores and facilities. This investment continues to be framed by social responsibility and environmental criteria.
"In addition, in the months of May and June, the company announced plans to build two new logistics hubs over the coming months, one in the Dutch town of Lelystand and the other in A Laracha in Galicia, Spain."