September 19, 2012 / 6:01 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Zara owner Inditex grabs new customers to grow H1 profit 32 pct

* H1 net 944 million euros vs f‘cast 905 mln

* Online and emerging markets drive growth

* Sales 7.2 bln euros vs f‘cast 7.1 bln

* EBITDA 1.6 bln vs f‘cast 1.6 bln (Adds analyst quote and details)

MADRID, Sept 19 (Reuters) - The world’s largest clothing retailer, Zara owner Inditex, posted a 32 percent jump in first-half year profit on Wednesday, taking market share in its home market Spain and grabbing new customers online and in emerging markets.

The Spanish retailer, which runs eight brands including upmarket Massimo Dutti, youth label Bershka and underwear store Oysho, posted net profit of 944 million euros ($1.2 billion), compared with 905 million forecast in a Reuters poll of banks and brokerages.

“The drivers are certainly there - the rapid rollout of online sales and fast fashion - but even so it’s a spectacular performance,” said Anne Critchlow, analyst at Societe Generale.

The retailer said like-for-like sales at the start of the third quarter through Sept. 17 rose 7 percent.

Inditex has given no guidance so far on its online performance, but internet sales could be boosting growth to the tune of at least 2 percentage points, Societe Generale calculates.

“Online is allowing Inditex to access customers that wouldn’t be near one of its concept stores,” said Critchlow.

Inditex made sales of 7.2 billion euros and earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 1.6 billion, compared with forecasts of 7.1 billion and 1.6 billion.

$1 = 0.7660 euros Reporting by Sarah Morris; Editing by Jesus Aguado and David Holmes

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