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Retail technology talking points from Inditex's year-end results

Retail fashion group Inditex – which owns companies such as Zara, Pull&Bear and Massimo Dutti – said sales in-store and online grew by 10% year on year in the 12 months to 31 January 2018.
 
Like for like sales growth was 5%, with the company reporting positive growth across all geographic areas and in all concepts. The company’s gross margin narrowed to 56.3% in the year amid adverse currency effects, while net profit of €3.37 billion was down from $4.2 billion the previous year off the back of infrastructure investments.
 
EBIT reached €4.3 billion, which was 7% higher than in 2017, or 12% in local currencies.
 
Within the results there were a number of technology talking points, with the fashion retailer continuing to make a name for itself in terms of innovation and experimentation with new systems and solutions. Essential Retail has picked out a few examples below.
 
Online
Revenue at Inditex from online sales grew 41% in the year, with 10% of total sales now online. Online represents 12% of the total in countries in which Inditex has an online presence.
 
RFID
The RFID system, which is now fully up and running at Zara, will be fully deployed this year at Massimo Dutti, Pull&Bear and Uterqüe, before completion group-wide by 2020.
 
Inditex said it invested €1.8 billion in further developing its multi-channel proposition and upgrading its technology, adding that the rollout of RFID technology has improved flexibility and response times by integrating stores and online inventories.
 
Same-day delivery
During the reporting period Zara added new online services, such as same-day delivery in Madrid, London, Paris, Istanbul, Shanghai and Taipei, and from today in Sydney.
 
Next-day delivery service is available in Spain, France, UK, China, Poland and South Korea, and also in six Australian cities from today, with the intention to gradually introducing this service in other markets.
 
Mobile payment
Throughout 2017, the group also continued to roll out mobile payment capabilities, which is now configured in 27 markets. Three markets – Spain, France and the UK – are using the apps developed by the group's brands and the all-brand payment app, Inwallet. 
 
The group’s paperless e-receipt system is currently operational in 37 markets. 
 
New tech leader
Carlos Crespo has been appointed to the new position of chief operating officer, where he takes charge of the coordination of IT, logistics and transport, works, procurement, and sustainability departments.
 
He will report directly to the chairman and CEO, Pablo Isla, and will focus primarily on the digital transformation of the company and reinforcing the group's integrated store and online business model. Crespo was formerly the group's internal audit director.
 
Isla called the results a year of "solid growth", and spoke of "the unique strength of our integrated stores and online model and its significant growth potential". 
 
“The prescient investments made in technology and logistics in recent years, coupled with space optimisation, mean the company is well placed for continued growth across all its markets".

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