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Inditex profits jump as Zara owner raises prices – Reuters

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© Reuters. Shoppers walk past Zara clothing store, part of Spanish conglomerate Inditex, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, December 13, 2022. REUTERS/Borja Suarez/Files

by Corinna Pons

Madrid (Reuters) Malik Zara Inditex (BME:) reported a 24% increase in net profit for the first nine months of the fiscal year, as rising prices helped offset weak global demand for apparel.

The world’s largest retailer of fashion and online sales were up 19% from last year, slightly faster than analysts expected. Analysts said price increases of 5% or more across some ranges since the spring have helped boost sales.

The company, whose brands also include Massimo Dutti and Bershka, said its net profit rose to 3.1 billion euros ($3.3 billion) from 2.5 billion euros a year ago during the first nine months of the year.

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Sixth quarter net profit rose 6 percent to 1.3 billion euros, in line with market expectations according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Inditex shares were up 2.8% at 12:30 GMT.

The company has outperformed some competitors since Marta Ortega, daughter of founding owner Amancio Ortega, took over as non-executive chairperson in April.

“Superior sales performance may reflect product design and presentation quality as well as a more attractive price point compared to peers where price increases appear to be lower than the broader market.” Deutsche Bank (ETR:) analyst Adam Cochrane said.

Inditex recently introduced more “upscale” Zara pieces designed for special occasions. This approach has allowed it to sell high-priced items and attract shoppers from the luxury segment of the market, according to analysts.

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Speaking to analysts on a conference call, Inditex CEO García Maceras noted the strong performance in the US and said the company was confident about its prospects in China in the medium and long term.

Sales increased 11% during the third quarter, a slower pace than in previous months, reflecting a weak consumer environment. The company’s sales in the second quarter increased by 16% compared to the same period last year.

The fashion giant said its sales between the beginning of November and December 8 increased 12% over last year. It added that sales were positive across all geographies.

H&M, which has struggled to compete with bigger rival Zara, will report its results Thursday.

Analysts expect that Inditex will have to deal with more cost increases over the coming months, including pressure from workers for salary increases.

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About 1,000 shop assistants who work for Zara and its other brands went on strike during Black Friday in La Coruna, the company’s hometown in northern Spain, to demand better pay, while others had protested in Madrid the day before.

These workers plan to strike again the day before Christmas and in early January after rejecting the wage increase offered by Inditex until 2024. Two major local unions have agreed to offer the new salary.

H&M this month became the first major European retailer to begin laying off employees in response to soaring inflation and rising costs related to the war in Ukraine.

Inditex said inventory flows temporarily accelerated to avoid supply chain snags are 15% higher than they were a year ago.

It expects its online purchases to reach 30% of its total sales by 2024.

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Maceras said the company will also expand a platform for the repair, resale and donation of Zara clothing that launched in the UK in November to other core markets next year.

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Red Flags That Your Spouse Is Hiding Money (And What To Do About It)

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Marriage can be hard enough without one spouse hiding money from the other.

When financial infidelity occurs in the form of “hidden cash,” a marriage or a live-forever relationship can easily be ended.

The truth is About 30% of American couples suffer from financial infidelity. Other evidence shows that more than 75% of couples describe the hidden money situation as negative and common 10% of these scenarios end in divorce.

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US judge orders Norwegian Cruise Line to pay $110m for use of Cuba port By Reuters

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© Reuters. Norwegian American Airlines cruise ship Marina arrives in Havana Bay, Cuba on March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Meneghini/File/File Photo

Written by Brian Ellsworth

MIAMI (Reuters) – Norwegian Shipping Line (NYSE) has to pay $110 million in compensation for the use of a port confiscated by the Cuban government in 1960, a US judge said Friday, marking a significant milestone for Cuban Americans. Who are seeking reparations for the Cold War era. Assets confiscation.

The decision by US District Judge Beth Bloom in Miami follows her decision in March that use of the Havana Cruise Terminal constituted smuggling of forfeited property belonging to the plaintiff, Delaware-registered Havana Docks Corp.

The decision read: “The judgment is made in favor of Plaintiff Havana Docks Corporation and against Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Ltd.”

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“The plaintiff was awarded $109,848,747.87 in damages,” it says, adding that the Norwegian must also pay an additional $3 million in legal fees and costs.

Norwegian Cruise Line did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel has sharply criticized the Helms-Burton Act, calling it an extraterritorial violation of international law.

Havana Docks also sued Carnival Cruise Lines (NYSE: ), Royal Caribbean (NYSE:) and MSC under the Helms-Burton Act, which allows US citizens to sue over the use of property seized in Cuba after 1959.

The ruling could fuel more lawsuits by Cuban exiles pursuing claims, worth $2 billion, according to one estimate, over asset seizures under late Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

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It may also serve as a reminder to multinational companies of the complexities that can come with doing business in Cuba.

In 2016, US cruise ships began traveling to Cuba for the first time in decades after a détente negotiated by former President Barack Obama eased some provisions of a Cold War US embargo.

But the Trump administration in 2019 ordered a halt to all such cruises amid efforts to pressure Cuba over its support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Washington’s ideological foe.

The Trump administration has also allowed US citizens to sue third parties for using property seized by Cuban authorities, a provision of the Helms-Burton Act that every previous president has waived since the law was passed in 1996.

Havana Docs says Cuba, which has been under a US trade embargo for decades, has never compensated it for taking the drug.

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The four cruise lines sued in 2019 in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Bloom in March held the companies liable for damages under the Helms-Burton Act, also known as the Libertad Act.

According to the US-Cuban Economic and Trade Council, a nonprofit organization that provides information on relations between the two countries, 5,913 validated claims related to property seized in Cuba represent an estimated liability of nearly $2 billion.

Forty-four lawsuits have been filed under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, the organization says.

“For the current plaintiffs of Cuban descent, (the decision) will give them a moment of relief,” said John Cavulich, the group’s president. “It will give them a moment to say ‘You can run but you can’t hide,’” Cavulich said.

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Is a Royal Caribbean or Carnival beverage package worth it?

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An all-inclusive beverage package that gives you access to beer, wine, liquor, bottled water, soda, specialty coffee, and even shakes/juices may cost more than your cruise fare.

This is especially true right now when many cruise cabins are being sold at discounted prices while the drinks package prices have gone up.

Deciding whether to purchase a drink package is a challenge because you have to estimate whether you will be drinking enough to cover the cost. Or, more importantly, whether you’d spend more if you decided not to purchase a drink package.



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