Spanish fashion retailer Inditex SA, owner of the Zara clothing chain, posted a 29 per cent rise in first-half net profit on Wednesday, and said it was optimistic for the rest of the year.

Profit for the first half ended 31 July was €246.2 million euros, up from €190.1 million a year ago. Revenues rose 20 per cent to €2.82 billion euros in the same period.

Three months ago the firm blamed flat like-for-like sales on poor performance of its Zara range. But its flexible business model has allowed it to replace stocks quickly - with the result that same-store sales rose 4.5 per cent for the first half.

Looking ahead, Inditex said it expected full year gross margin to increase to 55.9-56.4 per cent from previous forecasts of 55.4 per cent.

The retailer said its initial autumn-winter collection has been "well received" and that it expects to open between 400 and 450 new stores this year.