March 1, 2017 / 7:23 AM / 9 months ago

Zalando to keep investing heavily, buys basketball retailer

BERLIN, March 1 (Reuters) - Zalando, Europe’s biggest pure online fashion retailer, said it would invest heavily in 2017 and create more than 2,000 jobs, as it announced its first move into physical stores with the acquisition of basketball retailer Kickz.

Zalando said on Wednesday it expected to invest 200 million euros ($211 million) in 2017, up from 182 million in 2016, primarily in infrastructure, increased automation and software.

Zalando shares fell 3.8 percent in pre-market trade.

Zalando said it had agreed earlier this week to buy the retail business of Munich-based Kickz, which runs stores in Germany as well as a website that delivers worldwide, for an undisclosed sum.

Zalando, which already reported preliminary fourth-quarter results in January, said sales in the period rose 26 percent to 1.09 billion euros, while adjusted earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) came in at 96 million, the latter ahead of average analyst forecasts. ($1 = 0.9486 euros) (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Georgina Prodhan)

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