Second-quarter revenue, profits and cash hit historic highs

  • First-half revenue reached €11.94 billion, up 49% year-on-year
  • Inditex’ executive chairman, Pablo Isla, commented that this strong performance “is the result of the commitment displayed by everyone at the company and their continued focus on delivering top creative and quality fashion. Thanks to all of them we are reaping the benefits of the strategic and sustainable transformation in our unique business model”.
  • Online sales in local currencies registered first-half growth of 36% from 1H20, and 137% when compared to the same period in 2019. Online sales expected to account for more than 25% of total sales in FY2021.
  • The first-half gross margin was strong at 57.9%.
  • Net profit amounted to €1.27 billion, compared with a loss of €195 million in the first half of 2020; EBITDA topped €3.1 billion, year-on-year growth of 109%.
  • Cash generation remained strong: the Group´s net cash position reached an historic high of €8 billion at the end of 1H21.
  • Zara Man launches a line of sportswear that will be available online and in selected stores from 30 September. The collection is called Zara Athleticz and is based on three fundamental ideas: simplicity, comfort and functionality.
  • Store and online sales in local currencies between 1 August and 9 September 2021 registered growth of 22% compared to the same period of 2020 and of 9% when compared with 2019.

I. HIGHLIGHTS

The Inditex Group reported revenue of €11.94 billion in the first-half (1 February - 31 July 2021), representing growth of 49% year-on-year, or 53% growth in local currencies. Net profit amounted to €1.27 billion, compared with a loss of €195 million in the first half of 2020.

The Group’s revenue, profit and cash generation in the second quarter 2021, between May and July reached historic highs for the period.

Inditex’ executive chairman, Pablo Isla, commented that this strong performance “is the result of the commitment displayed by everyone at the company and their continued focus on delivering top creative and quality fashion. Thanks to all of them we are reaping the benefits of the strategic and sustainable transformation in our unique business model”.

Second-quarter revenue accelerated and grew 7% in local currencies, to €6.99 billion, when compared with the previous historic high for the quarter, set in 2Q19. Similarly, second-quarter 2021 net profit reached €850 million, outperforming the previous high set in  2Q19.

The Group’s ability to generate cash is particularly noteworthy: as of July 2021, Inditex had €8 billion in cash, compared to €6.49 billion as of July 2020 and €6.73 billion as of July 2019.

First half earnings were robust despite trading hours being down by 15% (6% in 2Q21), due to closures, limitations and capacity restrictions across the Group’s various markets and specific locations due to the pandemic.

Online sales, meanwhile, continued to register significant growth, reaching 36% above 1H20 levels and 137% above the prepandemic 1H19 figure (all in local currencies). Online sales expected to account for more than 25% of total sales in FY2021.

The Group’s first-half gross margin was a robust 57.9%, thanks to the performance of the business model, its flexibility and the digital transformation. Based on the information currently available, the company forecasts full year gross margin of around 57.5% (+/- 50bps) in 2021.

With respect to the start of the second half, specifically between 1 August and 9 September 2021, store and online sales, in local currencies, increased by 22% year-on-year and by 9% compared to the same period of 2019.

II. DIGITAL ANTICIPATION AND TRANSFORMATION

Integration of Uterqüe into Massimo Dutti.

As part of the Group’s digital anticipation and transformation strategy, Uterqüe is going to be integrated within Massimo Dutti over the course of next year. Uterqüe’s full product range will be available only online and within select Massimo Dutti stores and will no longer be sold in standalone stores.

The overriding goal is to optimise Massimo Dutti’s long-standing presence in renowned international markets such as the US, Canada, Mexico and Turkey. The move marks the continuation of the very successful strategy initiated between Zara Home and Zara to take adventage of synergies between the two brands.

All the other brands continue to pursue their integrated digital transformation strategies and open new flagship stores.

Zara, for example, opened impressive new stores in Edinburgh and Cardiff (UK) during the second quarter, as well as refurbishing stores in Marbella and Seville (Spain). In August, the brand inaugurated a store on Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich (Switzerland), which has a devoted area for the Zara Home collection. The latter opened stores in Düsseldorf and Berlin (Germany), Brussels (Belgium), Perm (Russia) and Kharkov (Ukraine) and has plans to refurbish and expand existing stores in Amsterdam (Netherlands), Geneva (Switzerland) and Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates).

Over the course of the year, Zara has opened or expanded high-profile stores in cities such as Barcelona, San Sebastián (both Spain), Guangzhou (China), Cairo (Egypt) and Puglia (Italy), among others, and has others in the pipeline in City of London (UK), Paris-La Défense (France), Milan-Corso Buenos Aires (Italy), Sydney-Westfield, (a refurbishment of the brand´s first maiden store in Australia), Chengdu Taikoo Li (China) and Cape Town-Waterfront (South Africa).

The rest of the Inditex brands also remained active in terms of openings and refurbishments. Pull&Bear launched stores in Edinburgh (UK) and Florence (Italy), and plans to open stores in Izmir (Turkey), Qatar and Guadalajara (Mexico) in the coming months.

Massimo Dutti opened a store in the Lotte Dongtan shopping centre (South Korea) at the end of August, unveiling its new brand image, which will also feature in the new store due to open in Seville’s Nervión Plaza (Spain) during the second half, alongside stores planned for other cities including Budapest (Hungary), Bratislava (Slovakia), Shanghai (China), Qatar and Guadalajara (Mexico).

On 3 September, Bershka saw one of its highest-profile openings of the year with its new flagship store on calle Preciados in Madrid, a thriving European shopping district. The store, which has four storeys, fully reflects the brand’s new image and, as is customary, fully integrates with online to offer a number of digitallyenabled features.

Earlier, during the second quarter, Bershka had already opened important stores in Paris and Marseilles (France), Edinburgh (UK) and Cairo (Egypt). Over the next few months, Bershka will open new stores in Rome (Italy), Istanbul (Turkey) and Bucharest (Romania), among others.

Stradivarius also made its début in Scotland with an opening in Edinburgh (UK). Meanwhile, Oysho reopened the doors of its enlarged stores in A Coruña (Spain), Puebla (Mexico), Doha (Qatar) and Kharkov (Ukraine), with additional refurbishments slated for Barcelona-La I´lla (Spain) and Beijing Solana shopping centre (China), while its first stores in Slovakia and North Macedonia are in the pipeline.

Inditex Open Platform

Technology-wise, all of the new stores are linked up to the new services offered by the Inditex Open Platform (IOP), the scope of which and performance of was continuously upgraded over the course of the first half. The Group thus continues to work on the development of the entire architecture of applications and microservices under the platform.

As a result, Zara stores in 21 markets currently feature Store Mode, with this service fully implemented in all of the brand’s stores in Spain, the UK and Japan. In other markets, including Italy, France, Germany and the US, implementation is progressing well.

Furthermore, the Zara and Massimo Dutti apps have added virtual fitting rooms for their Beauty and footwear collections, respectively, combining augmented reality and artificial intelligence technology, to offer an enhanced customer experience by enabling digital interaction with the product.

Elsewhere, the returns consolidation service is up and running in 20 markets, which allows customers to group items from different orders into a single return within the returns and exchanges period.

An app for the different Zara ID service user options is also in development. Zara ID is a QR code that allows shoppers to identify themselves in Zara’s stores to enable digital payment, returns and online order collection functions. At least 15 markets, including Spain, the UK, France, the US and Mexico, are currently participating in the first phase of this project by offering e-receipt functions.

During the first half, Zara opened its www.zara.com building at its head offices in Arteixo (A Coruña, Spain), which houses the audiovisual production studios and the teams tasked with coordinating the brand’s online presence. The building, which boasts 67,000 square metres of floor space and next-generation sustainability credentials, entailed an  investment of over €110 million.

Execution of the 2020-2022 capex plan, with €1 billion earmarked to digitalisation and €1.7 billion to the integrated store and online platform, therefore continues at a good pace. As of the first half close, the Group had 6,654 stores, having opened 92 new stores in 27 markets worldwide.

Zara Man launches a line of sportswear

Zara Man starts a new line of sportswear that will be available online and in selected stores from September 30th.

Zara Athleticz is built on three fundamental ideas: Simplicity, comfort and functionality.

Adaptable, multifunctional designs with a spotlight on performance for all sports. Clothes designed and engineered with carefully selected fabrics and modern manufacturing processes that ensure a perfect finish in all conditions and sports.

The garments, with the Join Life sustainability standard, are created for high performance, comfort and, in line with the brand’s fundamental characteristic, style. The visual aesthetic of this launch is based on a series of stories, Active Wear, with a focus on the human side of sport. The story of memorable experiences shared with people with a like–minded spirit, leading all to go faster, further and feel better.

As a curiosity, the numbers that appear as brand identity correspond to the order of the letters that make up Zara in the alphabet (26-1-18-1).

Other commercial initiatives

All of the brands were particularly active in terms of commercial creativity. Zara launched its début Tribute collection, made up of iconic photos captured by the legendary photographer, Peter Lindbergh, commissioned by the head of creativity, Fabien Baron. Later, in September, Zara and Zara Home collaborated with Kassl Editions, a group of designers who have created a cult utility and genderless clothing label.

Massimo Dutti launched Start Over, the FW21 Women’s Collection, which stands out for its ontrend silhouettes. During the first half the brand also launched its maiden lingerie collection - Edition N.1. Pull&Bear delighted its followers with its Dancing into the New, with dance and fun stealing the show.

The collaboration between Bershka and C. Tangana gave rise to a collection of clothing and accessories inspired by “El Madrileño”, the record that has made him as an artist, thanks to which his music is no longer something to just listen to; it can also be worn. Oysho, in addition to forging ahead with all its initiatives related with the world of women´s sport, unveiled Working Leisure, its new performance athleisure collection. And so the brand continued to host its International Yoga DayYoga is Limitless event, group yoga sessions, in the world’s largest cities.

Stradivarius takes us back to the 2000’s with Varsity, the retro collection with a rebellious twist based on school uniform-inspired styles, board skirts and the colour green. Uterqüe launched its new autumn-winter collection,“Incoming”, with a surprising 3D campaign that recreates a surreal atmosphere, engaging in a dialogue with the future through virtual reality.

The first half was marked by a host of other initiatives, including Pull&Bear’s collaboration with market maker POSCA and its Space Jam capsule collection: A New Legacy X Pull&Bear, inspired by the Looney Tunes and the world of basketball. Massimo Dutti launched its first swimwear collections for men and women.

Bershka, for its part, created a collection inspired by iconic NBA teams. Summer Mantras is the name of the initiative led by Stradivarius over the course of the second quarter filled with positive and upbeat messages.

Zara Home, lastly, partnered with the world of cinema during the second quarter and launched its first collection of baking accessories, Pastry Collection, exclusive designs created by Cédric Grolet.

III. SUSTAINABILITY PLEDGE

Inditex’s sustainability commitments have been reinforced by Pablo Isla’s endorsement of the letter published by the ‘Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders’, in which 90 top executives from major global companies called on the G7 group of nations to accelerate initiatives for halving global emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions in 2050.

To that end, Inditex’s executive chairman announced at the Annual General Meeting held on 15 July that the Group was bringing its net zero emissions target forward by 10 full years to 2040.

He also outlined the Group’s plans to accelerate delivery of other environmental targets and introduce new ones, specifically:

  • 100% More sustainable cotton in 2023, two years ahead of the initial target of 2025.
  • 100% Renewable energy in all own operations in 2022, up from the previously targeted 80%.
  • Over half of all garments will carry the Group’s Join Life sustainability seal in 2022.
  • And, a new target was announced to reduce the water impact across the entire supply chain by 25% by 2025.

The company continues to make progress on all its other commitments, including the elimination of plastic across operations, having attained the first milestone of eliminating all plastic bags from its stores and online orders last year, replacing them with recycled and recyclable paper bags.

Throughout the first half, Inditex continued to spearhead and back sustainability initiatives with far-reaching effects across the entire supply chain. On the occupational health and safety front, the Group was one of the promoters and first signatories of the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry, which commits the Group to continue to support the factory inspection and remediation work in the garment industry in Bangladesh, carried out by the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC). The commitment also entails extending the learnings of the previous Accord to new markets, based on feasibility studies.

Community investment

The Group quickly rolled out humanitarian relief plans in response to the emergencies unfolding in Haiti, Afghanistan, Greece, Turkey and China over the period

On the community investment front, Inditex continues to collaborate on its stable community work programmes while also making extraordinary donations in response to emergencies.

The first half was marked by ad-hoc contributions of that nature, including work with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in light of the need for urgent medical assistance following the earthquake in Haiti. Thanks to a €250,000 donation, Inditex helped rebuild the hospital in Port-à-Piment, where MSF provides maternity and infant care, as well as treating wounded people evacuated from Les Anglais.

In addition, in collaboration with several of its suppliers, the company made multiple donations of warm clothing to help UNHCR with its work with displaced people between Afghanistan and Turkey.

That same United Nations organisation has received over 20,000 items of clothing and footwear that were distributed by the NGO Accem, to meet the humanitarian needs of migrants arriving off the coast of the Canary Islands (Spain) in recent months.

The recent wave of wildfires in Turkey and Greece has also spurred the company into action. In Turkey we have allied with the NGO TEMA, to help reforest the areas affected. And in Greece we helped families who lost their homes to fire, again working with UNHCR.

In China, Inditex helped mitigate the effects of the torrential rains in the province of Henan by collaborating with the China Women’s Development Foundation and the China Environmental Protection Foundation, donating over 3.5 million healthcare items valued at €1.2 million.

Inditex complements those extraordinary initiatives with its regular work with partner NGOs such as Entreculturas. Specifically, it has boosted the Educate People, Generating Opportunities (EPGO) programme, run in collaboration with that organisation, with the aim of lending support to over 200,000 people affected by poverty, exclusion or humanitarian emergencies in a number of areas of Latin America, Africa and Asia between now and 2022.

IV. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The company held its Annual General Meeting on 15 July 2021, at which its executive chairman, Pablo Isla, gave an account of Inditex’s performance in 2020, wich was heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and key to Inditex’s strategic direction. He also shared insight into its performance in early 2021 and briefed the company’s shareholders about the key sustainability commitments assumed by the Group for the coming years.

The Company’s shareholders approved the Board’s motion to distribute a dividend of €0.70 per share, of which €0.35 was paid out on 3 May 2021 with the remaining €0.35 due on 2 November 2021. That has left Inditex’s shareholder remuneration policy fully intact.