The owner of Zara, Inditex, has seen a dramatic online sales increase of 42% to reach a record figure of €553m (£442m), even though other fashion chains continue to struggle.
Consumer spending in Spain has decline over the past few years, but the group, which also owns Stradivarius, Pull & Bear and Massimo Dutti, appears to have outwitted the recession. The company has reported an increase in turnover, from €15.9bn last year to €16.7bn this year.
The group’s online sales accounts for only 3% of its overall sales, but it is responsible for 20% of the growth over the past 12 months. This information was obtained from its annual reports as the investors are not offered separate figures for online sales.
Inditex commenced its online offerings during 2007 when it opened a website for Zara Home. During 2011, it set up Fashion Retail to include all its brands online. Its online operations currently extend to 27 countries.
The group surprised the industry last month, by its appointment of 31-year-old Maria Fanjul as the head of its global online operations. Fanjul previously held the role of chief executive at entradas.com, which is the biggest online ticketing agency in Spain.
Inditex launched the Zara website in China last month, on the Tmall platform, which is a subsidiary of Alibaba, the top Chinese e-commerce group. Other retailers on this platform include Gap, Calvin Klein and Burberry. The group already had a Chinese Zara website, which is responsible for about 8% of its sales, but it was almost invisible to the Tmall users.