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Pablo Isla

Chairman and CEO, Inditex

Pablo Isla’s Inditex defied the retail doom and gloom once again in 2019, delivering another record performance. Following a summer dominated by Zara’s ubiquitous “spotty dress”, sales at the group were up 7% year on year in the six months to 31 July, topping €12.8bn (£11.4bn) for the first time. Net profit hit a new record of €1.6bn (£1.4bn) for the period – up 10% on 2018.

Inditex, which owns Zara, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho and Uterqüe, predicts like-for-like sales growth of 4%-6% for the full year 2019/20. Isla said investments in its stores, logistics and technology were key.

Inditex’s global domination continued with expansion into new international markets with, taking the total to 202, 96 of which have physical stores.

Isla is passionate about sustainability and has promised to only sell clothes comprising organic, sustainable or recycled cotton, linen and polyester, by 2025. A signatory of the Fashion Pact sustainability commitment, Inditex has pledged to eliminate single-use plastics from customer sales by 2023.

Launching its “sustainability transformation” in July Isla said: “Sustainability is a never-ending task in which everyone here at Inditex is involved.”

In September, the then CEO and chairman unveiled his succession plan: chief operating officer Carlos Crespo was promoted to chief executive, and Isla became executive chairman.

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