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Spain's Inditex Reports 33% Rise in First-Quarter Earnings

Fashion retailer Inditex said Wednesday its first-quarter net profit rose 33%, helped by higher sales from its global network of outlets and new store openings.

The owner of the Zara chain said net profit in the three months from February to April rose to 200 million euros ($266.9 million), up from 150 million euros a year earlier.

Inditex, Europe's largest fashion retailer by sales, said revenue in the quarter rose by 19% to 2.04 billion euros ($2.72 billion).

Inditex -- which operates eight store concepts, including Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Zara Home -- said it had opened 114 new stores in the quarter.

The group said it maintained its expectations of between 440 and 520 net openings and capital expenditures of between 850 million euros ($1.13 billion) and 950 million euros ($1.27 billion) for the whole of fiscal 2007.

Inditex's shares closed Wednesday at 45.25 euros ($60.14)).

Last week, shares in consumer-oriented stocks -- Inditex included -- fell sharply on fears that additional interest rate hikes in the euro zone may hinder consumer spending.

Inditex is up about 10% since the beginning of the year, trading broadly in line with European retailers.

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