Inditex, the Spanish group that owns the brands Zara, Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho, Zara Home and Uterqüe, saw sales at the start of its second quarter push past the 2019 level, helped by the reopening of stores and the popularity of Spring collections.

In the May 1 to June 6 period, store and online sales in local currencies were 102 percent above the same period of 2020 and 5 percent above that of 2019. Throughout the period, 10 percent of store hours were unavailable due to Covid-19 store closures and restrictions, a figure that declined to just 2 percent as of June 7.

Despite 24 percent of trading hours being unavailable in the three months ended April 30, Inditex’s first-quarter sales rose by a reported 50 percent to €4,942 million, with sales growth seen across all geographies and brands. In local currencies, sales rose by 56 percent compared to the year earlier while they were down by 11.5 percent compared to the first quarter of 2019. Online sales in local currencies grew by 67 percent versus the year earlier.

In the first quarter, Inditex reported a net profit of €421 million compared to a loss of €409 million the year earlier. Gross margin expanded by 1.52 percentage points from the year earlier to 59.9 percent and was 0.47 percentage points above the first quarter 2019, as Inditex pointed to the implementation of its business model and efficiencies unlocked by its digital transformation policy.

Inditex highlighted the opening of 53 new “bigger and higher-tech” stores in 21 markets during the quarter. Overall, its store count fell to 6,758, down from 6,829 at the conclusion of the fiscal year that ended on Jan. 31.

In June 2020, Inditex revealed plans to close 1,000 to 1,200 smaller-sized stores and open some 450 new ones in the period to 2022 compared to the 7,412 at the time of its announcement. The ultimate aim is to have a total network of 6,700 to 6,900 stores.