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Zalando expands European fulfilment network to improve delivery and returns

Zalando is expanding its European fulfilment network. The Berlin-based fashion retailer and marketplace says that it plans to open two large fulfilment centres in Poland and Italy, alongside smaller fulfilment centres and localised warehouses near key cities including Paris, Milan and Stockholm.

The expansion is part of a strategy to invest around convenient and fast delivery and returns. It is also improving capacity and automation at fulfilment sites.

The update came as Zalando, a Top50 retailer in IREU Top500 research, released first-half results. Revenues of €2.1bn (£1.9bn) in the first half of the year ere 21.5% ahead of last time, while earnings before interest and taxation came n at €102.1m (£92.2m), up from €101.2m (£91.4m) last time.

Co-chief executive Rubin Ritter said: “We firmly believe that growth is the right strategy to increase the value of our business. Our updated guidance reflects our focus on growth at solid profitability levels. It is in our DNA to continuously evaluate additional investment opportunities, test ideas and then start scaling them. This can range from assortment additions to our recently launched customer loyalty programme Zalando Zet.”

Plans for expansion come after a first-half in which the retailer launched Zalando Fulfillment Solutions, enabling fashion brands to use its logistics infrastructure and expertise, similar to the Fulfilled by Amazon solution. It also added new sports and lifestyle brands to its assortment, including KICKZ, Nike, Lacoste and Esprit.

Zalando said that revenues grew by 20% in the second quarter alone, to €1.1bn, as average orders increased to 3.7 per customer a year. This, it said, marked “another all-time high and indicated strengthened customer loyalty.” Active customers rose by 800,000 to 21.2m.

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