Zara feels Marta effect as founder’s daughter sends profits soaring

Zara feels the Marta effect as founder’s daughter sends profits soaring by a quarter

Zara’s profits are soaring as the fashion business prospers under Marta Ortega Perez’s leadership.

Profit in the first nine months of 2022 jumped by a quarter to £3.4billion. Sales rose by a fifth to £20billion as shoppers snapped up its autumn and winter ranges. 

The barnstorming results come despite owner Inditex pushing up prices by an average of 5 per cent this year.

Soaring profits: Zara boss Marta Ortega Perez (pictured) took over from her father Amancio Ortega in April

The results are a boost for the new boss, 38, who took over as chairman in April from her father Amancio Ortega, who set up Zara in Galicia, Spain, in 1985.

Inditex has since been enjoying a good run, with Jefferies analyst James Grzinic saying she is ‘making it look easy’.

Shares rose 3 per cent in Madrid after yesterday’s update. They have fallen by around a tenth this year amid sales fears.

But chief executive Oscar Garcia Maceiras said: ‘These results clearly reflect the strength of our unique business model: fashionable collections, an appealing shopping experience and a team committed to profitable and more sustainable growth.’

Inditex said its autumn and winter collections were ‘very well received’, as customers across Europe braced for a cold winter. The retailer said there had been a ‘marked’ rise in shopper numbers.

But despite trading staying strong, Inditex said sales growth had slowed in the run-up to Christmas although sales since the start of November are 12 per cent higher than the same time last year.

Interactive Investor investment head Victoria Scholar said: ‘Inditex is not immune to the deteriorating economic outlook with the threat of recession putting pressure on the consumer and weighing on sales during the run-up to Christmas. Zara has been trying to attract customers at the higher end.

‘It has been branching out into ski wear and lingerie.’

Before her promotion, Marta Ortega had worked at the company for 16 years, starting, aged 22 as a sales associate in London.

There has been little change in strategy since the shake-up, although she has been credited with elevating the group’s fashion and strengthening its brand.