Zara factory at the Inditex group headquarters in Arteixo, Spain
Spanish textile giant Inditex, owner of the Zara brand, announced Wednesday a rise in quarterly profit as it pursued a global expansion with a string of new stores including in Japan, China and Russia.
The spread of Inditex\'s worldwide reach boosted sales by 5.2 percent from the level a year earlier to €3.59 billion ($4.8 billion) in the three months to April 30, the first quarter of the firm\'s 2013 business year.
Net profit climbed 1.4 percent to €438 million in the same period.
After an initially cool reception, investors warmed to the results and pushed Inditex stock up 2.57 percent to €100.35 by mid-morning.
\"The group\'s various retail formats forged ahead with their international expansion plans,\" with most new stores opening in Russia, Japan and China, Inditex said in a statement.
Inditex said the number of stores had grown by 49 in the quarter to reach 6,058 by the end of April.
\"The group has created more than 10,000 jobs worldwide in the last 12 months and has forged ahead with its investment plans for Spain,\" where facilities were being expanded, it said.
Zara Home, a home furnishing brand, opened debut stores in the Japanese cities of Osaka and Yokohama, as well as in Panama, it said.
Among the group\'s fashion brands, Zara opened new stores in Istanbul and the Indian city of Jaipur, Bershka opened in Prague and the Italian city of Bologna, and Stradivarius opened a store in the French port city of Marseille. The Pull & Bear brand opened its first store in Germany, in Berlin.
Zara now also sells its products online in 23 countries in Europe, the United States, Japan, China and Canada and the brand plans to launch online shopping in Russia in the autumn of this year, Inditex said.