(Repeats to clarify profit timeframe in headline)
MADRID, June 11 Net profit at the world's
largest clothing retailer Inditex dropped 7.3 percent
in the first quarter, its sharpest drop in five years, after a
strong euro hit the Zara owner in some of its most lucrative
Net profit for the February-to-April period was 406 million
euros ($552.77 million), beating expectations, and earnings
before interest, tax and depreciation (EBITDA) slipped 2.3
percent. Sales rose 4.3 percent to 3.75 billion euros.
A Reuters poll had forecast net profit of 383 million euros,
EBITDA of 721 million euros and sales of 3.79 billion euros.
Inditex, which owns brands like the upmarket Massimo Dutti
and teen label Stradivarius, said sales for the period Feb. 1
until June 8 were up 11 percent.
Currencies like the Japanese yen, Turkish lira and Russian
rouble have lost between 14 and 21 percent against the euro in
the last year, sapping profit for the Spanish retailer in
markets where it charges a premium.
The retailer said it would propose a 5-for-1 share split at
its annual meeting, a move often taken by companies when their
share price is very high. Shareholders will receive five
shares for every share they own at the close of business on 25
July. The new shares will begin trading on 28 July.
Inditex shares first hit the 100 euro mark around 18 months
ago and have been at or around this level since then, reaching a
record high of 121.8 euros at end-October. The stock closed on
Tuesday at 110.25 euros.
($1 = 0.7345 Euros)
(Reporting By Sarah Morris; Editing by Sonya Dowsett and Miral