Zara owner Inditex has said that sales dived by almost a third over the past quarter as shoppers stayed away from city centre shopping districts but it swung back into the black thanks to strong digital sales.
The Spanish fashion giant, which also owns the Bershka, Massimo Dutti and Pull & Bear brands, said sales slid by 31% in the three months to 31 July.
It told investors that around 87% of stores were open globally at the start of the period but it now has around 98% of sites welcoming customers again.
However, the company said it has continued to be impacted by limits on capacity in stores and restricted hours in certain markets, due to the pandemic.
The company swung to a €214 million (£197 million) net profit for the quarter as it was buoyed by improvements in online sales. This compared to a loss of €409 million in the first quarter when the majority of its stores were closed.
Sales through its digital platforms surged by 74% in the first six months of the year against the same period last year as many customers opted to stay at home.
Trading in the current quarter has seen a “progressive return to normality”, it said, with online sales continuing to grow sharply and store sales gradually recovering.
Store and online sales fell by 11% for the period from 1 August to 6 September against the same period last year.
Inditex’s executive chairman Pablo Isla hailed the firm’s performance during the pandemic, stressing that “the recovery and strong performance are due to the hard work, engagement and creativity of everyone in Inditex.
“I am particularly pleased with our online sales growth, which demonstrates the critical importance of our integrated store and online platform strategy.
“This is a cornerstone of our unique business model with three key pillars flexibility, digital integration and sustainability.
“Day by day this combination is proving its solidness”.