Inditex sales growth slows in tough market

 
City A.M. Reporter
Sales growth at Spain's Inditex, the world's largest clothing retailer and owner of the Zara label, moderated in the third quarter as the euro zone debt crisis crimped spending in the region.

The company, founded by Spain's richest man Amancio Ortega, posted a 9.5 per cent rise in sales growth on for the third quarter ended October 31, compared with a more robust 12 per cent rise in the first half.

"The autumn-winter season is being significantly affected by the performance of sales during the Christmas period and end-of-season sales, due to the high volume of sales in that period," the company said in a statement, without providing further information.

Consumer confidence in the 27-nation European Union sunk to its lowest level this year in October as rising prices, muted wage growth and swingeing austerity measures squeezed disposable incomes in Europe, where Inditex makes almost three-quarters of sales.

So far in the crisis, Inditex has held up better than rivals at home in Spain and abroad, through taking market share in its domestic market, aggressively expanding into new markets like Asia and tightly controlling costs through its adaptable production model.

The group, whose brands also include upmarket Massimo Dutti, teen clothes label Bershka and underwear stores Oysho, posted nine-month sales of 9.71 billion euros (£8.17bn), just below the 9.8bn euro average in a Reuters poll of 10 banks and brokerages. Net profit of 1.30bn euros compared with a 1.28bn euro forecast.