MADRID, Spain — Zara owner Inditex tapped fashion-hungry consumers in new markets in 2012 to grow net profit by 22 percent even as austerity-hit shoppers in Europe tightened belts. The world’s largest clothing retailer, which runs eight brands, posted net profit of 2.4 billion euros ($3.1 billion), opening new stores in 64 markets. It entered markets like Georgia, Bosnia and Ecuador for the first time.
Inditex, which has seen its shares triple in value in the past five years and outperform European peers by more than a third over the last 12 months, said on Wednesday it would propose hiking its dividend by 22 percent to 2.2 euros per share. Sales rose 16 percent to 15.9 billion euros.
By Sarah Morris; Editing by Paul Day and Mark Potter; Copyright (2013) Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions