H&M summer collections help increase profits

AP News
Posted: Sep 26, 2013 5:07 AM

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB says its third-quarter profit swelled by nearly a quarter thanks to strong sales, particularly in China and Japan, and the popularity of its summer collections.

The Swedish company said Thursday that its net profit in the June to August period was 4.4 billion kronor ($690 million), 22 percent higher than the 3.6 billion kronor it made the year before, and it expects earnings to continue to grow. Revenue was 32 billion kronor, up from 28.8 billion kronor a year earlier

H&M's share price was up more than 6 percent at 280.30 kronor in early trading on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.

CEO Karl-Johan Persson was upbeat about the outlook, describing the August launch of an online store in the U.S. as being "very well received by customers." He said the company's "offering stands up well in the world's largest online market" and that H&M also had successful openings this year of new stores in Lithuania, Serbia, Chile and Estonia.

During the first three weeks of this month, sales increased 8 percent in local currencies compared with the same period in 2012, the company said. It noted, however, that differences in calendar dates with last year would shave 2 percentage points off the month's sales growth.

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H&M opened 215 new stores worldwide during the past nine months and said it was on target to increase the number of new retail outlets by 10-15 percent annually, with "continued high profitability."

Founded in 1947, H&M has 2,964 stores worldwide, up from 2,629 a year earlier, including franchises and stores under its other brand names. H&M said it would also continue expanding the groups' other brands — COS, Monki, Weekday, Cheap Monday and Other Stories. It employs some 100,000 people globally.