SALES at Zara soared in the first half of the year but the fashion giant’s owner Inditex has warned of “supply chain tensions” for the second half.

Spain-based Inditex said it has accelerated sourcing inventory as a result of potential supply chain issues as it posted overall group sales of €14.8 billion, up 24.5 per cent set against the same period the year before.

Sales at Zara and Zara Home, which share the stable with brands including Pull&Bear and Massimo Dutti, rose 29% over the six months.

It reported “very strong operating performance” with “Sales, Ebitda and net income reached historic highs”.

Inditex, the world's largest clothing retailer, said traffic and store sales “increased markedly and continue to do so, with store differentiation being key to this dynamic”.

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Online sales “progressed satisfactorily” and were positive in the second quarter, and expected to exceed 30% of total sales by 2024, the firm said.

Gross profit increased 24.5% to €8.6bn and the gross margin reached 57.9%, the highest in seven years.

Inditex said: “In the face of possible supply chain tensions going into 2H2022, Inditex has temporarily accelerated autumn/winter inventory inflows in order to increase product availability without any change to commitment levels.

“Due to this reason, inventory as of 31 July 2022 increased 43%. The autumn/winter inventory is considered to be of high quality and is consistent with the strong sales trends in previous quarters and the sales performance going into the 2H2022. As of 11 September 2022, inventory levels were 33% higher.”

Zara owner sees six-month sales hit 'historic' highSource: London Stock Exchange

Inditex, which has suspended operations in Russia, noted an extraordinary charge of €216m related to its expenses there and in Ukraine, where Russia has waged war.

The group's net income increased by 41% to €1.8bn, the net cash position grew by15% to €9.2bn, while the full year 2021 final dividend of €0.465 per share will be paid on November 2, 2022.

Oscar García Maceiras, Inditex chief executive, said: “The results are explained by four factors, key to our performance.

“Our unique fashion proposition, an increasingly optimised shopping experience for our customers, our focus on sustainability, and the talent and commitment of our people.

“Our business model is progressing at full pace and has great growth potential going forward.”

Inditex shares closed up 3.2% at €22.8.