Inditex profits leap 12%

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Zara-owner Inditex unveiled upbeat early spring sales yesterday as it reported a double-digit rise in its annual profits.

The Spanish group has outpaced most of its rivals during the downturn in the eurozone and boasts some 5,500 stores across 82 countries including new markets Australia, Azerbaijan and South Africa.

Asia is a key focus of growth for the cash-rich retailer, particularly China, which will account for a third of store openings this year and where Zara is poised to launch an online store this winter. Inditex – founded by Amancio Ortega, now one of the world’s richest men – said profits rose 12 per cent to €1.9 billion (£1.6bn) in 2011, while revenues were up 10 per cent to €13.8bn. It will hike its dividend 12.5 per cent to €1.80.

Alejandro Varela, fund manager at Renta 4, said: “The level of organic growth is exemplary, it is driving into Asia – but the risk is always whether it can maintain this level of growth.”

Inditex reported recent sales in local currencies up 11 per cent.