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Inditex Profits Up

Inditex, the Spanish retailer that runs Zara, on Wednesday said net income in the first quarter gained 10 percent...

PARIS – Inditex, the Spanish retailer that runs Zara, on Wednesday said net income in the first quarter gained 10 percent despite adverse climatic conditions in April and Europe’s challenging retail landscape.

The company said income in the three months through April advanced to 219 million euros, or $335.8 million, from 200 million euros, or $265.5 million, last year, in line with most analysts’ expectations.

Sales in the quarter gained 9 percent to 2.22 billion euros, or $3.4 billion, from 2.04 billion euros, or $2.71 billion, last year, boosted by aggressive store openings. Currency conversions were made at average exchange rates for the respective periods.

Fashion firms across Europe have blamed cold weather in April for lagging sales. Hennes & Mauritz said cold weather in March and April contributed to declines in comparable sales of 8 and 10 percent, respectively.

Indicating that sales are improving, Pablo Isla, Inditex deputy chairman and chief executive officer said sales in the first six weeks of the company’s second quarter were “according to expectations.”

He said that store sales in local currencies increased 14 percent from Feb. 1 to June 8. Hennes & Mauritz, Inditex’s Swedish fast-fashion rival, has also said that sales started to improve in May.

Inditex opened 145 stores in the first quarter, including its first stores in South Korea. The group opened 114 stores last year in the first quarter.

Isla said as many as 640 stores would open by the end of Inditex’s fiscal year as the company expected to allocate as much as 1 billion euros, or $1.56 billion, in expansion.