PARIS – Spain’s Inditex SA, owner of the Zara retail chain, said net profits rose 32 percent in its 2010 fiscal year as the company continued its rapid expansion, including entering India, Kazakhstan and Bulgaria.
Europe’s largest clothing retailer registered net profits of 1.73 billion euros, or $2.29 billion, between Feb 1, 2010, and Jan. 31, 2011.
The company’s sales increased 13 percent to 12.53 billion euros, or $16.54 billion.
The gross margin stood at 59.3 percent of sales, up from 57.1 percent against the same prior-year period.
Dollar figures are converted from euros at average exchange rates for the period to which they refer.
Inditex, which is based in Arteixo, Spain, opened 437 units in 45 countries, bringing its total to 5,044 doors in 77 countries. The company expanded rapidly in Asia, where it had new 160 stores and now generates 15 percent of sales, versus 12 percent in the 2009 fiscal year.
The firm created 7,837 new jobs and closed the year with 100,138 employees.
Between Feb. 1 and March 14, store sales in local currencies grew 10 percent.
During the fall-winter season, Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho and Uterqüe will launch e-stores. As reported, Zara.com is also scheduled for introduction in the United States and Japan.
Inditex plans to open between 460 and 500 stores and to enter markets such as Australia and South Africa in the current fiscal year.