June 4, 2018 / 8:31 AM / in 6 months

Zalando to expand to Ireland, Czech Republic

BERLIN, June 4 (Reuters) - Europe's biggest online fashion retailer Zalando plans to expand to Ireland and the Czech Republic this summer and will add the Monki brand of Sweden's H&M, it said on Monday.

Launched in Berlin in 2008, Zalando has grown fast to sell almost 2,000 brands in 15 countries, mostly in western Europe, but has not added a new market since Luxembourg in 2013.

It had already announced in February the plan to open online stores in two new countries this year, but did not say which ones. On Tuesday, it said Ireland and the Czech Republic would be served by its existing warehouses.

The announcement came ahead of presentations for media on Monday and a capital markets day for investors on Tuesday.

Zalando also said it would add Monki styles to its site in August, the third H&M brand it will sell after Weekday and Cheap Monday. It will also launch an English version of its site in Germany and an Italian version in trilingual Switzerland.

As Amazon has made a big push into fashion, Zalando last year pared its profit forecast as it spends heavily on logistics and technology, denting its shares.

Last month, Zalando said the launch of beauty products in Germany had made a promising start and its active customer numbers jumped in the first quarter but a late start to spring hit profitability.

British rival ASOS has also said it will have to step up spending on technology and logistics, with the extra costs taking a toll on its elevated share price. (Reporting by Emma Thomasson Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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