ZARA PARENT INDITEX REPORTS 25% GROWTH

Byline: Barbara Barker

LA CORUNA, Spain — Inditex, parent company of the Zara specialty chain, reported top- and bottom-line growth in excess of 25 percent for last year and, without providing additional details, reiterated its intention to go public during the first half of the current year.
The company, which also operates chains such as Bershka, Stradivarius and the young men’s brands Massimo Dutti and Pull&Bear, reported a 27 percent increase in net income to $246.5 million on a 28 percent rise in sales to $2.49 billion for the year ended Jan. 31. Dollar figures have been converted at current exchange.
Sales outside Spain accounted for 52 percent of the total, the company noted. Last year, Inditex entered four new markets — Austria, Denmark, Andorra and Qatar — and opened 158 stores worldwide. During the year, it sold a total of 90 million items, 80 percent of which were manufactured in Europe.
With a workforce of roughly 24,000, the firm operates 1,080 stores in 33 countries, including six Zara units in the New York area. It crossed the 1,000 unit milestone last October. At one time, U.S. retail strategy for the trendy label called for 40 stores over a two-year period, but a company spokeswoman told WWD in a phone interview that there are currently “no immediate expansion plans for the U.S. Nothing is pending.”
“As you know, we are not aficionados of specific figures, and it’s not that we are pulling back in the U.S.,” the spokeswoman said. “We are dependent upon real estate options there. Something interesting could come up tomorrow, for instance.”
She said Inditex still plans an initial public offering for about 30 percent of its shares during the first half of the year.
“Although we have no specific date, the offering will take place during the first half of 2001, as reported,” she said. “There is still time.”