Spanish fashion retailer Inditex – owner of brands such as Zara, Massimo Dutti and Bershka – said on Wednesday that strong growth in online sales helped it return to profit in the first quarter after coronavirus lockdown measures pushed it into the red a year ago.

Inditex – which runs its business year from February to January – said in a statement that it booked net profit of €421 million in the three months to April, compared with bottom-line loss of €409 million a year earlier.

“The first quarter stands out for its solid operating performance, with growth in operating expenses... significantly below sales growth,” the statement said.

Revenues expanded by 50 per cent to €4.9 billion – with onlines surging by as much as 67 per cent in local currency terms – and underlying or operating profit jumped by 155 per cent to €1.2 billion.

“Sales were higher across all geographies and every brand despite the fact that 24 per cent of trading hours were unavailable due to lockdowns and restrictions (16 per cent of the group”s stores remained closed at the end of the quarter) in addition to other capacity restrictions,” Inditex said.

Sales were higher across all geographies and every brand despite the fact that 24% of trading hours were unavailable due to lockdowns and restrictions (16% of the group”s stores remained closed at the end of the quarter) in addition to other capacity restrictions- Inditex statement

“Our differentiation and strategic transformation towards a fully-integrated, digital and sustainable model continues to bear results,” said chief executive Pablo Isla.

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