Zara owner Inditex’s profits jump by 24 per cent with Marta Ortega as chair

When billionaire Zara founder Amancio Ortega’s glamorous daughter Marta was named as the fashion giant’s new chair, it caused a share price plummet which cost the firm billions.

But now – just eight months after officially taking on the top job – the Spanish-born heiress has well and truly had the last laugh.

Ms Ortega’s father Amancio founded Zara in 1975 and is now Spain’s richest man, with a staggering net worth of more than $US62.9 billion.

The 86-year-old controls around 60 per cent of parent company Inditex’s shares and in 2015 he was briefly the richest person on the planet when the firm’s stock peaked.

Today, Inditex boasts more than 6000 stores across the globe, including Zara, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear, Bershka and Stradivarius labels.

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Last November, it was revealed that Ortega’s 38-year-old daughter would become Inditex’s next chair as part of the fashion juggernaut’s “generational handover process” – an announcement that sparked a share price bloodbath.

Within hours, shares were down by as much as 6 per cent, representing a capital loss of billions for Inditex, which had started to rebound after the pandemic.

But after officially taking over in April this year, Marta Ortega has proved her critics wrong, and is enjoying the ultimate revenge after it was revealed that Inditex had recorded a staggering 24 per cent jump in net profit for the first nine months of its financial year.

Store and online sales also grew by 19 per cent from one year ago, with net profit rising from $€2.5 billion a year ago to €3.1 billion – and increase of €600 million, or more than $A952,800,000.

Net profit for the quarter was also up by 6 per cent, with Inditex’s performance under Ms Ortega’s leadership showing up fellow retailers.

One of the reasons for the boost in sales has been the deliberate strategy of offering more higher-end pieces in a bid to lure customers from higher-end retailers.

Chief Executive Garcia Maceiras also noted there had been particularly strong results out of the US, and said the company expected strong growth in China in the years ahead.

In light of the latest results, Jefferies analyst James Grzinic told the Daily Mail Ms Ortega – whose major promotion came with a massive pay packet of one million euros ($A1.48 million) a year – was “making it look easy”.

However, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Ms Ortega, with Zara recently rocked by several days of workers’ strikes, which results in the temporary closure of dozens of shops in Spain’s northwest just before the key Black Friday sales period.

Sales have also started to slow down in the lead up to Christmas, with the company also bracing for a potential future recession, along with fellow retailers.

Who is Marta Ortega?

Marta Ortega is Amancio Ortega’s third child, and his only with second wife, Flora Pérez.

The 86-year-old also has a daughter, Sandra, and son, Marcos, from his first marriage to the late Rosalía Mera, although neither are involved in the company.

Educated at a Swiss boarding school where she excelled at horseriding, a passion she took into adulthood, Ms Ortega also discovered her love for fashion when she attended a Zara shoot with supermodel Kate Moss as a teen.

She went on to study business management in London, graduating from the European Business School in 2007, and her first role was a humble shop assistant at Bershka on Kings Road, London – a former favourite haunt of Kate Middleton.

She is a regular fixture at the front row of fashion shows, rubbing shoulders with fashion icons like Anna Wintour and Diane von Furstenberg.

In 2018, she wed second husband Carlos Torretta, who works in Inditex’s public relations department, in a lavish ceremony which was splashed across the society pages of Europe’s glossy magazines.

Ms Ortega has one son with her ex-husband Sergio Álvarez Moya, and she welcomed daughter Matilda, her first child with Mr Torretta, in 2020.

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