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Zalando expects slower sales growth in 2022 after pandemic

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of fashion retailer Zalando is pictured at the new headquarters in Berlin
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BERLIN (Reuters) -German online fashion retailer Zalando said on Tuesday it expects sales growth to slow in 2022 after the coronavirus pandemic helped it record a bumper year in 2021, when sales jumped almost 30% to 10.4 billion euros ($11.64 billion).

For 2022, Zalando forecast sales would rise 12%-19% to between 11.6 billion euros and 12.3 billion euros, and adjusted operating profit to be 430 million euros to 510 million euros, compared with 468 million in 2021.

Zalando said its outlook did not take into account likely negative effects from the war in Ukraine.

The company had reported a slump in profits in the third quarter after it cut prices to keep customers shopping online as stores reopened following coronavirus lockdowns.

It has also warned of delays to deliveries of items, particularly sneakers, due to factory closures in Vietnam.

The company said on Tuesday it was on track to reach its 2025 target for gross merchandise volume, or sales made by Zalando and its partners on its site, of more than 30 billion euros.

The company said it would add four new fulfilment centres by 2023, and it expects total capital expenditure in 2022 to range between 400 million euros and 500 million euros.

Zalando said it had attracted more than one million people to its membership programme, which offers faster delivery for a fee, and it plans to double the number of markets where it offers the membership programme by the end of 2023.

Founded in Berlin in 2008, Zalando has grown rapidly to become Europe's biggest fashion e-commerce player, selling clothes, shoes and cosmetics from 4,500 leading brands in 23 countries on its platform.

($1 = 0.8933 euros)

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Miranda Murray and Vinay Dwivedi)

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