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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 September, 2004, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Zara chain takes fur off shelves
Zara store opening
Zara is among the chains which will no longer stock fur
Spanish fashion chain Inditex has banned fur from all but a handful of its 2,064 stores, three days ahead of concerted worldwide protests.

The firm, home to brands such as Zara and Massimo Dutti, wrote an open letter to customers explaining its decision.

Its use of rabbit fur on its clothes had attracted the ire of campaigners.

Of the 54 nations in which it operates, 48 will take fur off the shelves immediately and the rest will stop by 1 January after existing stock is sold.

"The measure is one step further in our commitment to respect the animals and environment surrounding us," chief executive Jose Maria Castellano Rios wrote.

Campaigners noted that Inditex had ditched fur in the UK before.

It had initially got rid of rabbit fur in October 2003 following an earlier campaign but had reintroduced it in early 2004.

Demonstrations will still take place in as many as 40 countries, they said, but would no longer target Inditex outlets.


News of Inditex's decision came as the company announced solid results for the six months to 31 July.

Its net profit rose 29% from the same period a year earlier to 188m euros, in line with analysts' forecasts, on sales of 2.4bn euros.

Like-for-like sales - which are adjusted to remove the effect of new store openings - were up 8%.

The figures marked a return to form after a less impressive 2003, and pushed its shares in Madrid up 2%.

The firm said it was on course for a 23-25% rise in sales for the full year, with as many as 365 new stores being opened.

But staff and rental costs also accelerated, up 26% on the previous year.

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