Zara owner Inditex posts strong first-half sales growth

MADRID, Sept 11 (Reuters) - The owner of clothing chain Zara, Inditex, posted strong first-half sales growth on Wednesday, buoyed by good summer weather in Europe and favorable foreign exchange effects.

Inditex, the world’s biggest fashion retailer, reported net profit of 1.55 billion euros ($1.66 billion) for the six months from Feb. 1 to July 31, on sales up 7% at 12.82 billion euros, in line with analysts’ expectations.

Inditex is one of the few bright spots in a struggling apparel market, with sales growth outpacing that of rivals like Sweden’s H&M as it adapts to consumers’ changing shopping habits by combining large stores with online sales.

Inditex, which also owns brands Massimo Dutti and Bershka, reiterated on Wednesday its sales growth forecast for the full year of 4% to 6%.

$1 = 0.9053 euros Reporting By Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Jose Elias Rodriguez