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Zara owner's sales disappointing

12 December 07 11:22 GMT

The world's second biggest clothing retailer, Spain's Inditex, has reported worse than expected sales but better than expected profits.

Shares in the company that owns Zara, Massimo Dutti and Pull and Bear have risen more than 23% this year, but fell more than 4% in early trading.

There is concern about the effects of the housing slump in its home market, which accounts for 38% of its sales.

But its boss said sales growth in Spain was in line with the rest of the world.

Inditex reported net profit of 825m euros ($1.21bn; £593m) for the nine months to the end of October, which was 30% ahead of the same period last year.

That figure was better than expected, as a result of a programme of cost-cutting.

Sales rose 17% in the period to 6.63bn euros, which was worse than had been expected.

Inditex has been expanding aggressively, especially in fast-growing economies such as China and Russia.

It currently has stores in 400 cities around the world.

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