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Zara Retailer, Inditex, Reports Growth

Inditex, the Spanish retailer that runs the Zara fashion chain, on Wednesday said it would ramp up development in Asia and Europe while it reported 2005 net income bounded 26 percent.

Inditex, the Spanish retailer that runs the Zara fashion chain, on Wednesday said it would ramp up development in Asia and Europe while it reported 2005 net income bounded 26 percent.

Net profit for the 12 months through Jan. 31 increased to 803 million euros, or $993.1 million, from 638 million euros, or $796 million, besting analysts’ consensus expectations. Sales gained 21 percent to 6.74 billion euros, or $8.3 billion, from 5.56 billion euros, or $6.9 billion, driven by aggressive expansion in Europe.

Pablo Isla, Inditex’s deputy chairman and chief executive office, told a conference call that sales in the first eight weeks of 2006 were in line with expectations. He said Inditex would invest 850 million euros to 950 million euros, or $1 billion to $1.2 billion, over the year to open 410 to 490 new stores. Dollar figures are at the average exchange rate.

Inditex opened 448 stores last year. Isla said like-for-like sales grew 5 percent, after 9 percent like-for-like growth the year before. “It was a satisfying year, with good results achieved in a compelling environment,” said Isla.

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