Inditex net sales climb 3% to €18.4bn in first nine months, up 7% in local currencies

  • The net sales figure marks a record for the nine-month period ending 31 October. The sales growth was accompanied by gross margin expansion of 60 basis points to 58%.
  • Strong performance of earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to €3.1 billion, up 3% from a year earlier and representing growth of 14% in local currencies.
  • Net profit also hit a new nine-month record, climbing 4% to €2.4 billion.
  • Like-for-like sales in the second half of 2018 to the end of November grew 3%, following a good start to the season, an extraordinarily warm September and 5% like-for-like sales growth in October/ November. Inditex maintains previous guidance for like-for-like sales and gross margin in second half 2018.
  • Inditex’s chairman and CEO, Pablo Isla, highlighted both “the Group’s strong business model, which continues to deliver solid structural growth in all markets, along with our constant focus on developing the integrated store and online platform through continued enhancement of technology and systems”.
  • Zara is currently selling its collections in 202 markets worldwide following the launch of its global online platform, www.zara.com/ww in November. In parallel, it has completed the rollout of its integrated stock management system in the 49 markets in which Zara operates stores and online.
  • During the period, Zara also added automated online order pick-up points in seven of its stores in Milan, Bilbao, Amsterdam, Glasgow, Liverpool, Leicester and (from tomorrow) the newly refurbished Zara Haussmann store in Paris.
  • Furthermore, during the period the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) named the Group as the most sustainable company in the retail industry for the third year.


KEY DATA (First nine months 2018. € millions)

  9M 2018 9M 2017 18/17 % in local currency
Net sales 18,437 17,963 3% 7%
Gross profit
Gross margin

10,695
58%
 

10,319
57.4%
 
4% 9%
EBITDA 3,932 3,819 3% 12%
EBIT 3,070 2,993 3% 14%
Net profit 2,438 2,341 4% -

 

Inditex Group’s net sales rose by 3% in the first three quarters of fiscal 2018 – 1 February to 31 October – to a nine-month record of €18.4 billion. In local currencies, sales growth was 7%. Gross margin was 4% higher and reached 58% (56 bps). Like-for-like sales growth was positive in all geographies.

Growth in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) was 3% in the first nine months (14% in local currencies). while net profit reached €2.4 billion, up 4% year-on-year.

Consistent strong execution enabled Inditex to maintain an EBIT margin of 16.7% in spite of a negative 4.3% currency impact on net sales. The Group’s net cash position increased 10% from a year earlier, to €6.6 billion by the end of the period.

Inditex’s business model execution was satisfactory in 3Q2018. The Company decided not to participate in the promotional activity widely seen in the sector since September. This high operational efficiency is reflected in the positive evolution of the gross margin, which widened 108 basis points over the quarter.

Inditex’s chairman and CEO, Pablo Isla, highlighted both “the Group’s strong business model, which continues to deliver solid structural growth in all markets, along with our constant focus on developing the integrated store and online platform through continued enhancement of technology and systems”. Following the launch of its global online sales platform in November, www.zara.com/ww, in 106 new markets, Zara’s collections can now be purchased online in 202 markets.

Like-for-like sales in the second half of 2018 to the end of November grew 3%, following a good start to the season, an extraordinarily warm September and 5% like-for-like sales growth in October/November. Inditex maintains previous guidance for like-for-like sales and gross margin in second half of 2018.

I. 9M18 HIGHLIGHTS

The Group continued to make good progress on its business strategy of constantly upgrading the integrated store and online platform. During the first nine months of the year the Group opened stores in 51 markets and continued to add the latest technology to enhance eco-efficiency and customer service in both new and refurbished stores.

Alongside the upgrade of its website and app, Zara installed seven new automated online order pick-up points in Milan (Italy), Bilbao (Spain), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Glasgow (UK), Liverpool (UK), Leicester (UK) and the newly refurbished Zara Haussmann store in Paris (France), which reopens its doors tomorrow.

In addition, thanks to constant investments in technology and logistics, particularly developments based on radio frequency identification technology (RFID), Zara has been able to complete the implementation of its integrated stock management system in the 49 markets in which it operates its integrated store and online platform. Uterqüe has also completed this integration effort, making it the second of the Group’s brands to do so.

The integrated stock management system makes it possible to fulfil customer orders from either the store or the online stockrooms, enhancing stock management, turnaround times and customer service. All of the Group’s brands will have fully integrated their store and online stock by 2020, by which time full deployment of RFID technology is scheduled for completion.

During the first three quarters of the year, Inditex also forged ahead with its ongoing investments in logistics platforms and centres.

Construction work at the logistics connection hub in Lelystad (Netherlands) remains on schedule and the centre in A Laracha (La Coruña, Spain) – devoted to supplying the factories with fabric – opened during the reporting period.

Inditex’s head offices in Arteixo (La Coruña), which house the design, product, technology, sustainability and technology teams, among others – were also expanded by 80,000m2 during the nine-month period.

II. UPDATED STORE BASE

All of the Group’s brands in all of its geographic markets benefitted from important store openings, expansions and refurbishments, in some instances absorbing older/smaller units, as Inditex forged ahead with its strategy of continuously updating and integrating its store base in order to introduce the latest technology and deliver the goal of ensuring that all of its stores are eco-efficient by 2020. One hundred percent of Inditex’s stores in China are already eco-efficient.

In the US, the Group celebrated the opening of its 100th store with the opening of Zara Denver on 14 November. Zara remained particularly active in the US market, opening its twelfth store in New York (Kings Plaza shopping mall), new flagship stores in Portland and New Orleans and its first store in San Bernardino County (California), during the period.

Following high-profile openings in the first half, such as Zara Bilbao (Spain), and the reopening of refurbished and newly expanded Zara stores in Stratford (London) and Roppongi (Japan), Zara reopened its iconic store on Milan’s Vittorio Emanuele (Italy) in September. Zara also opened significant stores in Liege (Belgium), Shanghai (China), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Almeria (Spain), Prague (Czech Republic), Evry (France), Jakarta (Indonesia) and Kumamoto (Japan) during the period. In Oslo, Zara opened a new 4,000m2 store on Karl Johans Gate in the heart of the Norwegian capital’s commercial centre.

The other Inditex brands were also active in terms of significant openings and refurbishments. For example, Massimo Dutti opened a store inside Copenhagen airport (Denmark), as well as new flagships in Munich (Germany) and Shanghai (China). More recently, this brand inaugurated a new store in Lisbon (Portugal) and on 30 November it opened on calle Larios in Malaga, which was also the location selected by Bershka for its new store in the city.

Bershka also opened a flagship store in Budapest (Hungary). And in November, the brand created a new integrated experience, linked to the opening of its new store in the Italian city of Cremona. Thanks to the introduction of the latest customer service technology, shoppers in the store can use a user-friendly app for smartphones, Bershka Experience, to request delivery of garments of their choice to the fitting rooms from inside the store. Shoppers can also place products in their virtual shopping baskets and have them sent directly and rapidly to the fitting rooms or cash desk.

Stradivarius opened major stores on Paseo del Born in Mallorca (Spain) and in the Noyelles shopping centre in the French town of the same name. This brand, which tomorrow will open a high-profile flagship store in Bilbao (Spain), also refurbished several stores during the period, including its stores on Oxford Street in London (UK), Ermou Street in Athens (Greece), Via Roma in Turin (Italy) and Rua Augusta in Lisbon (Portugal).

Oysho, meanwhile, introduced its newest image and technology at its stores on Via Torino in Milan and in Bari (Italy) and opened new units in Shenzhen (China), Leon (México), Almeria (Spain) and Bucharest (Romania).

Pull&Bear opened its first store in Algeria this quarter, specifically in the Bab Ezzouar shopping centre in Algiers, as well as its first opening in the Swiss city of Bern. The cities of Taranto and Lecce (Italy) and Warsaw (Poland) also welcomed the arrival of Pull&Bear during the period. And in November, the brand reopened a store on Tauentzienstrasse in Berlin.

With regards to Zara Home, it opened its seventh store in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), its third store in Nagoya (Japan) and new stores in the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Xiamen.

Lastly, Uterqüe, which this quarter began to sell its products online in China via Tmall, opened its debut store in St Petersburg (Russia) and expanded and refurbished its flagship store on Portal del Angel in Barcelona (Spain), one of Europe’s busiest shopping streets.

III. COMMERCIAL INITIATIVES

The third quarter was once again marked by a range of commercial initiatives undertaken by all the brands. Zara’s autumn/winter collections were introduced with photographs taken by Steven Meisel, a campaign that was followed by more targeted initiatives like the Maternity Woman range (in stores and online), and participation in Superbrand Day in China on 27 September.

In November Zara made a statement when it launched a new exclusive and limited-edition collection called ZARA SRPLS, a unique range that redefines the military aesthetic for contemporary lifestyles, aiming to provide a benchmark for how to combine different pieces for fresh, everyday looks.

Inspired by the behind the scenes magic in every new season campaign at Zara, in December the brand launched a comprehensive collection of lipstick products, designed in Los Angeles, made in France, with an exclusive shade selection used over the AW’18 Zara Woman campaign.

On 25 October, Massimo Dutti launched the brand’s new perfume line, on sale exclusively in its stores and on the brand’s website.

In tandem with the launch of its autumn/winter collection, Bershka unveiled a capsule collection along with Converse: a new take on the sneaker brand’s classic Chuck Taylor All Stars.

Singer Rosalía’s new collection for Pull&Bear, launched in November, was another of the season highlights; this collection featured colourful pieces that conjure up some of her international hits such as Malamente.

The brand also launched a pioneer capsule collection inspired by eSports icons. The collection is formed by a group of garments compiling a complete sports kit with technical materials and cotton for training and competition.

Stradivarius also launched STR Collection, showcasing the brand’s urban and casual side with a capsule collection based on the notion that ‘fashion must be lived’ and articulated around sporty and relaxed trends and organic, recycled and upcycled fabrics.

During the second edition of Oysho Sport Hub in Madrid, Oysho launched a new boxing gymwear line which is completed with a series of accessories developed with Everlast. The firm also launched new Oysho Gymwear Trekking and Oysho Ski lines; the jackets in these lines are fitted with cutting-edge technology such as PrimaLoft© thermal insulation and the RECCO© detector, a system that helps locate the wearer if they get lost in the mountains.

Zara Home, meanwhile, collaborated with The Socialite Family, creating a series of everyday family portraits. This was a new take on the interior décor and lifestyles of real people who opened the doors of their homes, giving customers a glimpse of their private lives. The neutral palette permeating the décor in her apartment, located on Paris’s Rive Gauche, provided the perfect backdrop for Zara Home’s autumn/ winter collection, which featured linens and velvets.

Uterqüe, lastly, opted to welcome in the winter with a first for the brand: presentation of its collection with a runway show. The show recreated all the aspects of a catwalk, a catwalk dominated by authentic eclecticism and a mix of apparently contrasting worlds which nevertheless had a core value in common: each is true to its own style and identity.

IV. SUSTAINABILITY AND DIVERSITY

Over the period, Inditex was named as the most sustainable company in the retail industry for the third year in a row by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). The company scored a total of 68 points out of 100, putting it 45 points above the sector average.

Meanwhile, Inditex’s various brands continued to broaden the collections made and marketed under the Join Life label, which flags best practices in the choice of raw materials and production processes. Zara launched a new TRF Join Life collection and Bershka expanded the range of products under this label, which currently represents 13% of the brands' total. Inditex’s goal is to lift the number of Join Life-labelled garments across all its brands to 118 million in 2018, marking year-on-year growth of 60%.

In this same vein, the Closing the Loop programme for the collection of used clothing for donation to various NGOs is up and running in 1,169 stores in 22 markets, all of which are equipped with collection containers. The Group aims to have containers installed in 2,000 stores across 40 markets by 2020. The at-home pick-up of second-hand clothing continues to be piloted in Beijing and Shanghai, complementing the existing scheme operational in Spain.

Inditex continues innovating around the circular economy, in October, it joined the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UN Environment. In November, Inditex also committed to the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, which is under the auspices of UN Climate Change, as part of the Group’s significant efforts to reduce emissions while contributing to sustainable development.

Inditex continues to champion diversity and equality across all its activities. Against this backdrop, Pablo Isla was one of more than 50 chief executives who signed the European Round Table of Industrialists’ Embrace Difference initiative for the promotion of diversity and inclusion as key sources of business value generation.

Elsewhere, Inditex became a new member of the global network The Tent Partnership for Refugees (www.tent.org), which works with the private sector to improve the lives and livelihoods of more than 25 million refugees forcibly displaced from their home countries. Over 100 companies, supporting refugees across 34 countries, are now members of the Tent Partnership.