Zara owner Inditex's full-year profit up 7%

Zara Inditex update

Chairman and chief executive of Inditex, Pablo Isla, described it as a year of "solid growth" for the company, and highlighted, "the unique strength of our integrated stores and online model and its significant growth potential".

For its online sales, the retailer which owns a stable of brands from upmarket label Massimo Dutti to home wares chain Zara Home, said that it did better than expected with a 7 per cent jump in annual net profit on Wednesday, dodging the negative headwinds plaguing its brick-and-mortar stores with double-digit growth in online sales.

The company's shares closed up 4 percent to 25.24 euros ($31.22). Unlike many fashion retailers struggling with competition from online vendors such as Amazon, Inditex is holding up well as brands like Zara combine their high street presence with a slick online offering. "It is now very rare in the physical stores-based part of the retail sector to find companies not disrupted by online", Anne Critchlow, of Societe Generale, said in a recent note.

The Spanish company has invested in technology to merge online and store experiences.

Sales: Net sales for the year ended January 31, increased 9 percent to 25.34 billion euros ($31.46 billion), compared to 23.31 billion euros ($28.85 billion) in fiscal 2016.

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The company said current trading was up 9 per cent in the run-up to the crucial Easter trading period. Sweden's H&M, for example, makes around 12 percent of sales online.

"We think this is mainly due to currency mix, a delay in the start of the Spring collection to the first quarter and lower full price sales than expected in the second half of the fourth quarter", he said.

On the same basis, sales grew 9 percent in the first five weeks of the new financial year as new spring collections hit shop floors with items like printed maxi dresses, linen separates and pastel blazers at Zara.

A dividend of €0.75 is proposed, 10 per cent higher than the prior year.

Inditex's profitability is vulnerable to erosion from a strong European currency as the bulk of its costs are in euros and most of its revenue comes from non-euro countries, according to Societe Generale SA.



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