FRANKFURT (Reuters) — Europe's biggest online fashion retailer Zalando reported its first ever profitable quarter, giving the company greater momentum for a possible stock market debut this year.

Zalando, whose rivals include Britain's ASOS Plc  and traditional retailers which are expanding online, said progress towards breakeven in the first quarter had accelerated, leading to a profitable second quarter and a first half-year group (EBIT) margin around breakeven.

Rubin Ritter, member of Zalando's management board, declined to say whether the company would be breakeven or be profitable in 2015.

The Berlin-based start-up is considering a stock market listing in October, people familiar with the transaction have told Reuters.

Figures from Zalando's biggest investor, Swedish firm Kinnevik, value the company at $4.9 billion, but analysts suggest it could be worth as much at $9 billion.
             
The retailer, which started selling shoes in Germany in 2008 and now ships 1,500 different brands to customers in 15 countries, had slower sales growth in the second quarter.

Zalando said second-quarter sales would come in at between 520 million euros ($703 million) and 560 million euros. That represented 28 percent sales growth at the top end compared with the 35 percent pace it had in the first quarter.

Ritter said the company was moving from a phase of "hyper-growth" to more "sustainable growth."

Data from U.S. Internet analytics firm ComScore showed the number of unique visits to Zalando's Web site from personal computers slowing to single digits in both April and May, from double-digit increases in the first quarter. This did not include purchases via mobile devices, which Zalando said ow makes up 41 percent its traffic.

Lorenzo Grabau, ceo of Kinnevik, which reported quarterly earnings on Friday, told Reuters that listing would be a "natural evolution" for any of its assets,  but would not comment on whether Zalando could go public this year.

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