Zara owner Inditex profits rise 27%

Zara store
Image caption Zara is targeting further international growth

The world's largest clothing retailer, Inditex, which owns Zara, has reported another jump in profit, fuelled by rapid international expansion.

Profit in the nine months to 31 October rose 27% to 1.66bn euros (£1.34bn, $2.2bn).

In that time, it added 360 new stores in 54 different markets.

The company broke the 6,000-store mark last week when it inaugurated a new flagship store on London's Oxford Street.

Inditex owns Zara, Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Pull and Bear.

The company said that it created 6,598 new jobs in the first nine months of 2012, taking its total workforce to 116,110 people.

Sales gained 17% to 11.4bn euros.

"Inditex's strategy of diversifying its sales worldwide continues to pay dividends, reducing its exposure to the difficult European market," said Matt Piner of retail analysts Conlumino.

"With the global outlook remaining extremely tough for 2013, Inditex will struggle to maintain its stellar growth rates, particularly on a like-for-like basis. However, the group will undoubtedly continue to outperform its peers."

Zara created online shopping for its Chinese customers in September and plans to open another online store in Canada in 2013, Inditex said.

It also said that it opened its first Massimo Dutti store in the North American market, in New York in October.

The company has spent hundreds of million in its home market of Spain in commercial and logistics activities aimed at supporting international growth.

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