When the news broke that Zara heiress Marta Ortega Pérez was taking over, it sparked a tribal bloodbath. Now she had the last laugh.
Zara’s parent company lost billions late last year after announcing that the founder’s glamorous young daughter was taking on the top job.
But just six months later, Marta Ortega Pérez has proved the world wrong.
Amancio Ortega founded fashion giant Zara in 1975 and is now the richest man in Spain, with a staggering fortune of more than $A85 billion.
The 86-year-old owns about 60 percent of the shares of parent company Inditex and was briefly the world’s richest person in 2015 when the company’s shares peaked.
Today Inditex has more than 6000 stores worldwide, including the labels Zara, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear, Bershka and Stradivarius.
But in November 2021, it was revealed that Ortega’s 38-year-old daughter would become Inditex’s next chair as part of the “generational process of fashion transference” — an announcement that sparked a carnage in stock prices.
Within hours, shares fell as much as 6 percent, representing a billion-dollar capital loss for Inditex, which has begun to recover from the pandemic.
The news was criticized by a series of commentators, who described the change as “risky” and a “step backwards”.
But after she officially stepped into the role on April 1 this year, Ms. Ortega Perez has the last laugh.
Marta’s $480 Million Achievement
Marta Ortega Pérez has worked for Inditex – now the world’s largest clothing retailer – for 15 years after starting as a shop assistant in London.
And despite only being on the job for less than three months, she’s already seen some truly amazing results.
Last week it was announced that Inditex had made a whopping 80 percent profit in the first quarter until the end of April.
That represents a net profit of €760 million ($A1,141,440,200), compared to €440 million ($A660.8 million) in the same period in 2021.
That’s an increase of $480.6 million from the same time last year – and while Ms. Ortega Pérez was at the helm for only a third of that period, it’s a seriously solid start, especially given the brazen misgivings many expressed at the time. her promotion was first revealed.
During the first quarter, sales also jumped 36 percent to €6.7 billion ($A10 billion), and the company’s gross margin hit a decade high, with the news that shares were up 5 percent last week.
The impressive results were attributed to a boom in fashion spending after the lockdown, with Zara attracting customers despite pushing up prices at a time when the cost of living weighed heavily on the market.
And the profit would have been even higher — at €940 million ($A1.4 billion) — had Inditex not had a provision of €216 million ($A324 million) for estimated costs related to Ukraine and Russia for the whole of 2022.
CEO Garcia Maceiras told analysts that Inditex would continue to raise prices in the next quarter, but that the focus would remain on affordable fashion.
He added that the welcome results were due to a “well-differentiated model that performs strongly”.
“The strength and adaptability of the business model and the outstanding performance of our creative, sales and operations teams drive that differentiation, supported by a strategic focus on innovation, digitization and sustainability,” he said in a statement.
Who is Marta Ortega Perez?
Born in 1984 in Vigo, Spain, Mrs. Ortega Pérez is the only child of the founder of Inditex and his second wife, Flora Pérez.
She has worked for Inditex since she was 23, when she landed a role as a shop assistant in a London store.
Since then, she’s worked her way up, most recently on Zara’s brand image, and
in her spare time she enjoys a passion for horse riding and languages.
She is a regular on the front row of fashion shows, rubbing shoulders with fashion icons like Anna Wintour and Diane von Furstenberg.
In 2018, she married second husband Carlos Torretta, who works in Inditex’s public relations department, in a lavish ceremony that was featured on the society pages of Europe’s glossy magazines.
Ms Ortega Pérez has one son with her ex-husband Sergio Álvarez Moya, and she welcomed daughter Matilda in 2020, her first child with Mr Torretta.
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