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Profits fuel Inditex’s accessories concept

Spanish fast fashion group Inditex will launch a stand-alone accessories and footwear concept called Uterqüe this year, after its profits soared by 25%.
The group, which owns the Zara chain, will open up to 30 Uterqüe stores by the end of 2008 in Spain, Portugal and Greece, with other countries to follow.

The company said current trading was in line with expectations, with sales up 17% in local currencies between February 1 and March 23.
Net profits climbed 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 rising 15% to €9.43bn (£7.5bn).

Inditex will open up to 640 shops this year including in new markets such as South Korea, Egypt and the Ukraine, adding more than three million sq ft of retail space. This includes up to 155 Zara stores.

Last year the company opened 560 stores, in regions including eastern Europe and the Far East.

Inditex had 3,691 stores in 68 countries at the end of the accounting period. Its fascias include Zara, Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Pull and Bear.
Separately, profit after financial items at Inditex rival H&M were up 19% to SEK4.05bn (£343m) for the three months to February 29. Total sales at the Swedish firm for the period were SEK23.2bn (£1.9bn), up 18% on the year before. Operating profit was SEK3.8bn (£316.6m).

H&M’s UK sales were flat at SEK1.6bn (£137.9m) for the first three months of the financial year, while group sales rose 18%.
H&M plans to open 54 stores in the second quarter, mostly in the UK, US, Spain, Italy and Germany.

Earlier this month the group acquired Swedish fashion chains Weekday and Monki.

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