BERLIN - Shares in Zalando fell on Thursday after the German online fashion retailer said it had spent more on marketing to keep its customers shopping online as stores reopened due to the easing of coronavirus lockdowns.

Europe's biggest fashion ecommerce player said customers it had attracted during the first lockdown in 2020 continued to be active buyers even as restrictions ended, with 44.5 million active users at the end of June.

The company, however, said it had been investing more into marketing in the second quarter after it scaled down advertising a year ago as demand soared during the first wave of the pandemic.

Second-quarter sales came in at 2.73 billion euros ($3.24 billion) and adjusted operating profit at 184.1 million euros, both in line with average analyst forecasts.

Zalando's shares were down 4.5% in early trading.

Shares in British rival ASOS dropped last month when it warned that recent sales growth had slowed due to uncertainty over the direction of COVID-19 and poor weather.

Zalando reiterated it expects full-year sales to grow 26-31% to 10.1-10.5 billion euros and said it now forecasts adjusted earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) to reach the upper half of its guided 400-475 million euros range.

Zalando has also connected 4,700 brick-and-mortar stores to its platform, an initiative it accelerated during the pandemic.

($1 = 0.8448 euros)

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson, editing by Kirsti Knolle and Anil D'Silva) ((+4930220133580; Reuters Messaging: