Marta Ortega’s strategy at Inditex, in record profits

The results of the first half of the Inditex group represent a new sales and profit record, put an end to the low-profile trend in textiles, and mark a milestone in the leading company in the sector, a group that also reaffirms the commitment and the path officially started on April 1 by its new president, Marta Ortega. Inditex recorded a net profit of 1,794 million euros during the first half of its fiscal year 2022-2023 (between February 1 and July 31), which represents an increase of 41% compared to the same period of a year before , as reported by the company on Wednesday, which highlighted in its communication that its integrated model had a “strong” operating performance and that sales, gross operating profit (Ebitda) and net profit reached a historical maximum.

Ortega, “Woman of the Day” for Forbes Spain the day after the presentation of results, leads the company after the replacement of Pablo Isla, and does so with an agenda and script in which fashion in its broadest sense regains prominence in the group, lays the pillars of its renewed structure and assumes many of the external conditioning factors that analysts and experts highlighted after the “non-executive” arrival of the founder’s daughter. The CEO himself who accompanies Ortega in the challenge, Oscar García Maceiras, highlighted it after confirming the balance of the semester (February 1 to July 31). “These results are explained – he said on Wednesday – by four key factors in our performance. Our fashion proposal, a constantly optimized shopping experience for our customers, our focus on sustainability and the talent and commitment of our people. Our business model is working at full capacity and has great potential for future growth”, highlighted the second in command. The results thus accompany a commitment to fashion and signature design that has also been noted and in a very relevant way in the company’s two main flagships: Zara and Zara Home.

At the beginning of last June, the company presented the first results of its new cycle, marked by the official arrival of the heiress. The group already registered sales of 6,742 million euros in its first fiscal quarter (from February to April), 36% more than in the same period last year and above the record of 2019 (5,927 million). Net profit grew by 80%, to 760 million, also higher than the maximum of 734 million from the year before the pandemic, despite the fact that the group had to provision 216 million for the impact of the war. Also. Between May 1 and June 5 -the president officially took office on the first day of April-, store and online sales grew by 17% over the record period of 2021.

“Inditex never stops. It is the place where I have always wanted to be”, said Ortega at his first shareholders meeting on July 12, a meeting in which, after the renewed logo and its declaration of intentions, he made it clear that fashion in all its extension -a field in which he has worked for more than 15 years- is and must be the central axis of the Galician company.

Quality, modernity, sustainability and art

Everything revolves around the strategy set by the team led by Marta Ortega. After the presentation on Wednesday, García Maceiras referred to the “continuous optimization of the customer experience”, in stores that he defined – these being the main axes of the renewed project – “of high quality, fully integrated, digital and sustainable”. In this sense, Maceiras gave as an example the openings of Zara in Plaza de España in Madrid and in Place Vendôme in Qatar, as well as the recently inaugurated reform and expansion of Zara Santa Catarina in Porto (the first Zara store outside of Spain, opened in 1988).

Likewise, the CEO anticipated the upcoming opening of Zara Battersea in London, which has the latest developments in this store model (concept areas for lingerie, shoes and accessories, Zara Home, online ordering silo, Shop mode and complete digital experience ).

He also highlighted “the robust” store sales experienced by all the group’s brands during the first half of the year -the first in which the new presidency’s record figures really already appear and, among them, he especially underlined “the exceptional performance” of Zara and the “solid behavior” of Stradivarius, Pull&Bear and Bershka”. “We are very happy with the performance of all our brands, which cover very different segments of the public with high-quality fashion,” Maceiras emphasized.

Sustainability is another of the project’s great vertices. At the meeting last July, García Maceiras announced the entry “in conjunction with other relevant investors” of Circ, a start-up from Virginia (USA), dedicated to the generation of sustainable fibers. The company invests in this way in sustainability strategy.

As for the president’s culture and art, the personal commitment of Ortega, her mother Flora Pérez and her husband, Carlos Torretta, stands out in the constitution of the Fundación MOP-the MOP Foundation, declared of Galician interest by the Xunta, which is dedicated to the “promotion and dissemination of culture, arts and letters, with special attention to audiovisual arts and photography.”

A stage marked by a very difficult moment to face

Analysts and experts agree on the difficult moment in which Marta Ortega and García Maceiras landed at the head of the textile giant, and on how, despite the seas against them, the course remains firm for the world leader in the sector.

Elena de los Ríos, an analyst at WomenNow, highlighted yesterday the risky but successful bet of the president, “determined to expand the universes of Inditex’s brands, starting with its star ship, Zara”. In fact, as an example, the success already achieved by her latest collection “rescuing” -says De los Ríos on her website- a cult designer, Narciso Rodríguez, “who connects a lot with the nostalgia that moves the trend. The minimalism that he championed like no one else in the 90s is king again today.” From the Ortega firm and under its guidelines is the fight given by the group to the effects of the covid crisis, inflation, the devastating war in Ukraine and the competition of the Chinese Shein in the fast fashion segment. And in that fight, and in the face of setbacks… results.


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