Fashion giant Inditex has reported an 8% drop in net income in its first half, but grew sales strongly.

The Spanish group, which owns retailers such as Zara, Bershka, Massimo Dutti and Pull and Bear, reported net income of €375m (£335m) in the six months to July. At an EBITDA level, it reported a 3% drop to €799m (£713m).

The retailer revealed it will launch Zara online for the autumn/ winter 2010 season. Initially, it will launch in the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Portugal, and to be followed by its other global markets.

Inditex chief executive and deputy chairman Pablo Isla said the launch is “an important strategic step, in line with the Inditex Group’s constant daily search to offer the best services to clients worldwide”.

Net sales were up 7% or 9% in local currencies to €4.86bn (£3.34bn). Gross profit was up 5% to €2.69 bn (£2.40bn).

Current trade from August 1 to September 14 shows store sales in local currencies is up by 9%.

During the first half, the group opened 166 stores in 35 countries, bringing its worldwide total to 4,430 shops in 73 countries.