H&M sales up 12% in first quarter
Swedish fashion retailer H&M has reported a 12% increase in sales during the first quarter of its financial year as it continues to expand into new markets around the world.
In the three months to 28 February 2014, group pre-tax profit rose by 8% to SEK 3.5 billion.
The retailer said sales had increased by 12% in local currencies during most of March after rising by 11% in February.
During the three month period, H&M opened its first online store in France and now plans to launch e-commerce sites in Spain, Italy and China by the end of the year.
H&M will open a total of 375 new stores this year including flagships in Melbourne, Milan, Shanghai and Munich as well as two further flagships in New York’s Manhattan.
In addition, the retailer will expand into Australia, the Philippines and India in 2014 and in Peru and South Africa in 2015.
H&M is also planning to open its first COS stores in Australia, Switzerland, South Korea and the US in 2014, and launch a US e-commerce site. In addition, & Other Stories will make its store debut in Belgium, the Netherlands and the US in 2014 and will open online shops in Ireland, Austria and the US.
H&M chief executive Karl-Johan Persson said: “Sales have got off to a good start with an increase of 12% in local currencies in the first quarter in a fashion retail market that in many places is still characterised by a challenging macroeconomic situation, and we have continued to gain market share.”
Persson revealed that H&M would continue to focus on increasing the number of sustainable options offered to customers, adding that the company had recently been named as the world’s most ethical company by the Ethisphere Institute.
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