Zara owner profits up 68pc

INDITEX, the Spanish group which owns Zara, saw a 68 per cent jump in half-year profit – fuelled by its assault on the online market.

The company reported that it had made a net profit of €628m (£534m). Sales reached €5.525bn in the first half, in line with earlier forecasts for the company.

Inditex said it was upbeat about its six-country launch of Zara online sales, adding that it would extend the offer to Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands during the second half of the year.

Inditex also owns the Bershka, Massimo Dutti and Pull & Bear fashion brands. The number of searches for has more than doubled since online shopping at the site was launched at the start of September, according to Google Trends.

“Current trading performance is not on fire,” said Fraser Ramzan, retail analyst at Nomura. “It is slightly slower relative to the first half, and that is despite the online launch that has generated a lot of anticipation.”

Europe’s retailers are seeing a tentative recovery in consumer demand, which is proving stronger in emerging markets. But many are also wary that steps to rein in government debt could hit spending in the months ahead as consumers tighten their belts.