Zara owner Inditex this morning posted a 70 per cent drop in net profit after a year of trading restrictions and weak demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
The European retail giant said profit last year fell to €1.1bn, a steeper drop than anticipated, due to the impact of store closures during global Covid-19 lockdowns.
Total sales were down 28 per cent at €20.4bn, with a 77 per cent surge in online shopping partially offsetting the impact of mothballed physical stores.
Fourth quarter net profit dropped 53 per cent to €435m and sales reached €6.3bn after many European countries reimposed restrictions on non-essential stores at the end of 2020.
Analysts had expected a quarterly net profit of €602m, according to a Reuters poll.
The company said this morning that around 15 per cent of its 6,829 stores remain closed due to the Covid crisis.
Inditex resumed its ordinary dividend policy of a 60 per cent payout and bonus dividends to be paid in May and November 2021 after postponing its payment last year due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.