After several quarters of shrinking sales, Zalando's business is beginning to stabilize.

The gross merchandise volume (GMV) traded via the platform even increased again, as Europe's largest online fashion retailer announced on Tuesday. "We are returning to growth," said company boss Sandra Dembeck.

Business with corporate customers increased disproportionately by 13 percent to 215 million euros. This is where Zalando provides other fashion companies with its technology and infrastructure. In the private customer segment, the expansion of the product range and new digital assistants, among other things, attracted buyers. "We are successfully implementing our ecosystem strategy and are delighted with the positive response from customers and partners," said Dembeck.

However, the number of active customers fell to 4.9 million from 5.1 million. The Zalando boss explained at a press conference that some of them were buying less frequently but higher quality products. Others had migrated to competitors with cheaper offers. "We don't want to compete in the ultra-fast fashion and ultra-low price segment." Chinese providers such as Shein and Temu are currently making a name for themselves in this segment.

GROUP SALES SHRINK SLIGHTLY - GMV PICKS UP AGAIN

According to the figures, GMV rose by 1.3% to 3.3 billion euros in the first quarter, while Group revenue fell by 0.6% to 2.2 billion euros. The adjusted operating result amounted to 28.3 million euros, following a loss of 0.7 million euros in the same period of the previous year. The GMV exceeded his expectations, praised DZ Bank analyst Thomas Maul. The increase in the gross margin, which benefited from a decline in inventories among other things, was also positive. He assumes that market expectations for Zalando's figures will rise in the coming weeks. As a result, Zalando shares rose by up to 7.1 percent.

However, the fashion retailer is sticking to its previous targets. It is aiming for an increase of up to five percent in consolidated sales and GMV. The operating profit is expected to be between 380 and 450 million euros.

(Report by Hakan Ersen. Edited by Olaf Brenner. If you have any queries, please contact our editorial team at berlin.newsroom@thomsonreuters.com (for politics and the economy) or frankfurt.newsroom@thomsonreuters.com (for companies and markets).)