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Madrid, Spain June 8-Global clothing giant Inditex, owner of Zara, on Wednesday reported an increase in first-quarter profits despite the closure of its stores in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

The world’s biggest fashion retailer said its net profit rose 80% in the first three months of its financial year to April 31, compared to the same period last year.

It said it made a profit of 760 million euros ($812 million), compared to 440 million euros ($470 million) in the first quarter of fiscal 2021, which was heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. .

The fashion group, which owns eight brands including high-end Massimo Dutti and teen brand Stradivarius, warned earlier this year that 2022 sales would be hit by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

After Russian troops were sent in late February, Inditex closed all of its stores in Ukraine and on March 5 suspended all retail activity in Russia, its largest market after Spain, closing its 502 stores and suspending all online transactions.

Inditex said the highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus had “significantly” affected business activity in the last quarter of 2021, causing “a sudden drop in retail traffic to its stores” in many countries.

When the pandemic first took hold two years ago, the group saw its profits plummet as the virus forced it to close most of its stores in the first half of 2020.