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Inditex profits rise 68%, suggest return of consumer demand

Inditex Group, the fashion empire controlled by billionaire Amancio Ortega famous for the Zara retail clothing brand, announced 22 September a 68% rise in first half profits for the world's largest clothing retailer.

Inditex recorded a net profit of €628 million for the first half of 2010 compared with €375 million for the same period last year. Revenues increased to €5.5 billion from €4.9 billion, a year-on-year growth of 14%.

The Spanish retailer opened 173 new stores in 37 different countries during the first half, including its first three Zara stores in India. In the statement announcing the results, the company highlighted the strength of its growing Asian presence as "very noteworthy" to its first half success.

The results also show a drop in sales in the company's home market, but a small increase in overall European sales as consumer spending rises.

Inditex was founded by Ortega, who still serves as chairman and owns 60% of the business, in 1975 when he opened his flagship Zara store in Spain. The brand is now the cornerstone of the empire, which has 4,780 stores in 77 countries.

Ortega was ranked the 9th richest man in the world by Forbes in March 2010, with an estimated personal fortune of $25 billion. His daughter Marta also works in the business and speculation is rife she will succeed her 74-year-old father when he steps down as company head. 

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