Zara owner sees 32pc profit jump

THE world's largest clothing retailer Inditex turned a massive 32pc rise in profits during the first half of the year.

The group runs a total of eight brands including Zara, the upmarket Massimo Dutti, youth label Bershka and underwear store Oysho.

The company currently operates seven Zara stores across Ireland.

Inditex said that new online shoppers and customers in emerging markets have helped to drive growth.

Inditex posted net profits of €944m, compared with the €905m forecasted by banks and brokerages.

The retailer said like-for-like sales at the start of the third quarter to September 17 rose 7pc.

Inditex has given no guidance so far on its online performance. However, internet sales could be boosting growth to the tune of at least 2pc, according to European bank Societe Generale.

"Online is allowing Inditex to access customers that wouldn't be near one of its concept stores," said Ms Critchlow, an analyst for the bank.

Inditex made sales of €7.2bn and earnings of €1.6bn.

The company currently operates more than 5,600 stores across 85 countries, and plans to open between 480 and 520 new retail outlets this year.

Many of these new stores will be opened in China, the world's second-largest economy, where Inditex launched a website at the start of this month.