Fashion giant Inditex has suffered a profit drop of 8% to €375m (£330.6m) in the first half of the year as it revealed plans to launch its Zara brand online.

Zara will be available online in the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Portugal with its entire range on offer from autumn next year.

In the past, the fashion giant had been cautious about going online, waiting to see if the fast-fashion model would translate well on the internet.

However, Inditex chief executive and deputy chairman Pablo Isla said that expanding into etailing is an important strategic step, “in line with the Inditex Group’s constant daily search to offer the best service to clients in the world.”

He added that, in the medium term, it may lead to the retailer launching its other brands online, including Massimo Dutti and Bershka.

Isla said that the retailer did not expect the online venture to lead to the cannibalisation of store sales.

Inditex now has 4,430 stores across 73 countries. Store sales in local currencies grew 9% in its first half, with like-for-like sales down 2% across the group.

The retailer has now made its debut in China, opening Pull and Bear and Bershka stores in the country. It said Asia that was a key priority in the group’s expansion strategy.