Zara owner Inditex 2020 profits plunge on virus hit

People walk by one of Zara's stores in central Madrid December 14, 2011. — Reuters pic
People walk by one of Zara's stores in central Madrid December 14, 2011. — Reuters pic

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MADRID, March 10 — Spanish textile giant Inditex, the owner of global fashion retailer Zara, said today its profits plunged in 2020 as enforced store closures due to the coronavirus pandemic hurt sales.

The group, which also owns the Bershka and Massimo Dutti brands, recorded a net profit of €1.1 billion (RM5.3 billion) last year, a 70 per cent drop over 2019.

Total sales were down 28 per cent from last year at €20.4 billion, as lockdown restrictions forced the closure of stores around the world.

Around 15 per cent of its shops worldwide were closed due to virus measures as of March 8, up from 8 per cent in mid-December as restrictions on shopping came back into force across much of Europe during the key end-of-year holiday season as well as in Brazil, the company said in a statement.

Inditex, which operates nearly 7,000 stores worldwide, expects almost all stores to be open again by April 12.

With many of its stores shut, online sales soared by an unprecedented 77 per cent in 2020 which helped to partially offset the impact of the pandemic.

Inditex said it would invest another €2.7 billion to develop online sales between 2020 and 2022, after having already spent €2.5 billion since 2012.

The company posted a net loss of €409 million during its first quarter which runs from February to April, its first quarterly loss in nearly two decades, as the country grappled with the first wave of the pandemic which brought the global economy to a virtual halt. — AFP

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