Sales lift profits for Zara owner Inditex by 18 percent

Zara fashion store owner Inditex says net profit jumped by 18 percent in the first quarter of its fiscal year thanks to booming sales and continued expansion.

The world's largest clothes retailer said Wednesday net profit for February through April was 654 million euros ($734 million), compared with 554 million for the period last year. Sales rose 14 percent to 5.6 billion euros.

Inditex said all its brands increased their international presence with new physical and online stores, including four new Zara online operations in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

Founded in 1975 by Amancio Ortega, Inditex operates eight brands including Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Pull & Bear. It has 7,385 stores.

Company shares were down 1 percent at 36 euros in early trading in Madrid.