Spanish fashion giant Inditex has outperformed the market by recording a 12 per cent rise in full-year underlying sales.

Net sales in the year to January 31 at the retailer which operates brands including Zara, Bershka, Massimo Dutti and Pull and Bear, were €10.4bn. Underlying sales in local currencies and in terms of underlying business growth, increased by 12 per cent.

Net income increased to €1.2bn. Gross profit grew 11 per cent to €5.9bn, with a gross margin of 56.8 per cent.

Sales in local currencies in February excluding calendar effects grew by 9 per cent.

The retailer said that sales growth in all geographical regions was positive. Sales in Europe, excluding Spain, grew 45 per cent, Spain by 34 per cent, Asia rose 10 per cent and sales in The Americas grew 11 per cent.

International sales represented 66 per cent of total sales, up from 62.5 per cent in 2007.

Inditex has 4,264 stores in 73 countries, an increase of 573 stores on 2007. It opened in five new markets during the year including Ukraine, South Korea, Montenegro, Honduras and Egypt.

It added that the launch of its accessories chain Uterque, with 31 stores in Spain, Portugal and Greece had exceeded expectations.

The retailer said that 2009 would be a “challenging year” but that it “expects to continue outperforming the industry, while the profitable expansion of the business remains a key priority”.

It expects to add 230,000 square metres of retail space, 95 per cent of it in international markets.