Owner of Zara chain makes steady progress

Inditex, the Spanish owner of the Zara fashion chain, saw profits surge 12 per cent last year despite the eurozone crisis battering its huge operation on the Continent.

Inditex said profit for the year rose to €1.93bn (£1.6bn) as turnover jumped 10 per cent to €13.8bn.

In addition to the Zara chain it has been expanding the global footprint of its other fashion brands such as Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear, Bershka and Stradivarius to the UK and further afield.

The company opened 483 new stores last year and now operates 5,527 shops in 82 countries. It opened its first stores in Australia, South Africa, Taiwan, Azerbaijan and Peru last year and plans to open another 520 stores in 2012, and launch online shopping in China.

The group's founder, Amancio Ortega, was recently named the world's fifth-richest man by Forbes magazine, with a total wealth estimated at $37.5bn (£23.6bn).

Last year he stepped down from the day-to-day running of the business that he began as a textile manufacturer in 1963.