Spanish fashion group Inditex, which operates the Zara chain, will launch a standalone footwear and accessories concept called Uterque this year, as profits soar 25%.
The group will open up up to 30 Uterque stores by the end of 2008, which are expected to account for 20% of the group's openings this year.
Inditex sales are up 17% in local currencies for the period between February 1 and March 23, in line with management expectations, the company said.
Net profits rose 25% to €1.25 billion (£994 million)for the year to February 1. Like-for-like sales grew 5% over the period with total sales up 15% to €9.43 bn (£7.5bn).
Gross sales margin rose 48 basis points to 56.7%. EBIT grew 22%
The company will open up to 640 shops this year, adding more than three million square foot to its retail space. This will include new markets such as Korea, Ukraine, Egypt and Montenegro.
The company opened 560 stores during last year, mostly outside of Spain in regions including Eastern Europe, Russia and the Asia-Pacific region.
Sales in Europe excluding Spain made up 42.4% of the total, up form 40.6%. International sales have risen to 62.5% of the total, from 60.4%.
Inditex had 3,691 stores in 68 countries at the end of the accounting period. The group's fascias include Zara, Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Pull and Bear.