The world’s biggest fashion retailer, Inditex, is to speed up its investment this year to open more new shops.
That news came as the owner of Zara, Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Stradivarius announced its results last year were hit by the falling value of currencies outside the eurozone.
It also had to carry the cost of revamping its flagship stores.
Core annual profit in the 12 months up to the end of January was flat at 3.9 billion euros, which was in line with analysts’ expectations
It is the first time that growth at the Spanish retailer has stalled since it went public in 2001.
Net profit for the year rose one percent to 2.4 billion euros, up one percent from a year earlier, meeting analyst forecasts.
There was good news on sales, which rose 12 percent in local currencies in the period from February 1 to March 15.
“We are seeing recovery in southern Europe and Inditex is quite highly exposed to southern Europe. Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy – all those countries are bouncing back,” said Anne Critchlow, a retail analyst with Societe Generale.
Retail sales are expected to accelerate in the spring as warmer temperatures and improving household finances in the United States unleash pent-up demand after an unusually cold and snowy winter there weighed on sales. Inditex made 14 percent of sales in the Americas in 2013.
Sweden’s Hennes & Mauritz, which the world’s second largest fashion retailer behind Inditex, said on Monday its sales rose 11 percent in February, albeit below a median forecast of 14 percent in a Reuters poll.