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Spain's Inditex, owner of clothing retailer Zara, reported better than expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, as its global fast-fashion business model allowed it to keep pace with local economic and fashion trends. Its shares fell 1.7 percent versus a 1.2 percent gain in the European retail sector reflecting doubts it could match last year's 58 percent gross margin, neck-and-neck with Sweden's Hennes & Mauritz and way beyond most retailers. Inditex shares have risen by almost a quarter this year to trade at almost 32 times forward earnings, according to Thomson Reuters data, opening up a big premium to H&M's shares, which are up 1 percent to trade at almost 24 times expected earnings.
Inditex SA, the world’s largest clothing retailer, said first-quarter profit jumped 28 percent, the fastest growth pace in more than two years as the Zara owner opened more stores and benefited from the weak euro. Net income rose to 521 million euros ($589 million) in the three months through April, Inditex said Wednesday in a regulatory filing . Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted earnings of 504.6 million euros.