Zara owner Inditex posts strong profit rise, creates over 10,000 jobs in a year

A woman looks at a display window in a Zara store in Madrid, Spain, on June 15, 2016.
A woman looks at a display window in a Zara store in Madrid, Spain, on June 15, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID (AFP) - Spanish clothing giant Inditex, owner of fast-fashion brand Zara, reported on Wednesday (June 14) a sharp profit rise for the three months to April, and said it created more than 10,000 new jobs in a year.

Inditex made 654 million euros (S$1.01 billion) over the period, the first quarter of its financial year, a rise of 18 per cent year-on-year and more than double the first-quarter earnings of its direct competitor, Sweden's H&M.

Earnings were also ahead of analysts' consenus expectations of 540 million euros, compiled by financial data company Factset.

Apart from Zara, Inditex also owns Massimo Dutti, Oysho, Bershka, Stradivarius, Pull and Bear, Zara Home and Uterque, and runs 7,400 outlets in 93 countries.

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Sales were up 14 per cent in the quarter.

Zara has launched online sales in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam since the start of the year, and is to start operations in India in the autumn, it said.

Founded by Amancio Ortega, now the second-richest man in the world after Bill Gates, Inditex's business model is built on the ability to bring fashion to stores within two weeks after being designed to quickly reflect new trends.

Inditex said it had created 10,668 new jobs over the past 12 months, including more than 2,200 in Spain.