Inditex , the Spanish group that owns the brands Zara, Pull Bear, Massimo Dutti , Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho, Zara Home and Uterqüe, returned to a net profit of €214 million in the second quarter ended on July 31 compared with a 409 million loss in the first quarter. Financial analysts were expecting a net profit of €58 million for the second quarter.

For the entire first half, the group posted a net loss of €195 million. But, excluding €308 million in provisions for its store digitalization program, the company posted a €39 million profit.

First-half sales fell by 37 percent to €8 billion. Second-quarter sales were down by 31 percent compared with a decline of 44 percent in the first quarter.

The gross margin was largely steady, only slipping to 56.2 percent from 56.8 percent a year earlier. Inventory levels were down by 19 percent year-over-year and operating expenses decreased by 21 percent.

Inditex suffered from lockdowns resulting from the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, 98 percent of the group’s stores are open, with restrictions still in place in some specific markets.

Growth in online sales grew by 74 percent year-on-year in the first half. For the first time, daily orders reached the one million threshold in the second quarter. In the seven months from February to August, Inditex’s brands received close to 3 billion online visits and their social networks reached a record of 190 million followers.

In the period running from Aug. 1 to Sept. 6, sales in local currencies were down by 11 percent from a year earlier, when they rose by 8 percent. Online sales continued to grow at a “remarkable pace and store sales are recovering progressively,” Inditex said.