Spanish retail giant Inditex, which owns the Zara clothing brand, announced on Wednesday June 12th that its first-quarter profits rose due to record sales driven by a push to develop its online business.
AFP reports that the company, whose other brands include Massimo Dutti, Pull&Bear, Bershka and Oysho, saw net profits increase by 10% year-on-year to €734 million ($831 million) between February 1st and April.
The results put Inditex well ahead of its main rival, Sweden's H&M, which had a net profit of €77 million in its first quarter.
The Spanish group said in a statement that sales jumped 5% to hit a new high of €5.9 billion, "driven by the ongoing digital transformation of its integrated store and online sales platform."
However, it said that it applied a new accounting standard during this period, without which net profit would have increased 7% instead of 10%.
The company forecast that sales would increase to between 4% and 6% this year on a like-for-like basis.
Inditex has been investing heavily in a bid to catch up with internet retail giants. It launched Zara online sales in Brazil in March, following this with a UAE launch in May.
Seventeen more launches are planned for the rest of the year, many of them in the Middle East.
Inditex shares rose by 0.3% in early trading on the Madrid stock exchange.