Spain's Inditex, the world's largest fashion retailer and owner of the Zara brand, Wednesday posted bumper profits for the first quarter as it pursued an ambitious programme of international expansion.
Profits for the February-to-April period totalled 332 million euros ($447 million), up 10.3 percent from last year.
Sales leapt 11 percent to 2.96 billion euros, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, or EBIDTA, was up 7.0 percent at 601 million euros.
The group said it opened 110 stores in 29 different countries during the quarter, bringing the total to 5,154 as of April 30, 2011, "providing a snapshot of the global growth potential of the Inditex Group?s retail concepts."
They included the opening of Zara?s first store in Australia, which increased the number of countries where Inditex sells its products to 78.
Inditex, whose other brands include youth label Bershka and the upmarket Massimo Dutti, also plans its first stores in South Africa, Taiwan and Peru before the end of the year.
It said e-commerce operations of Zara, currently present in 16 European countries, will begin in the United States from September 7, 2011.
In the financial year ending January 31, Inditex reported a 33 percent jump in profits to 1.73 billion euros. Asia was the fastest growing revenue source during the year, expanding its share to 15 percent from 12 percent