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H&M profits hit by currency turmoil + Matthew Williamson preview

H&M saw first quarter profits fall back 12% to SEK 3.5 billion (£298 million) after gross margin was hit by currency fluctuations.

H&M, which will launch a capsule collection designed by Matthew Williamson on April 23, said first quarter sales increased by 18% to SEK 23.2 billion (£1.97bn) but like-for-like sales fell 5%.

Gross margin was 56.6% against 59.6% for the corresponding period the previous year. Excluding the effect of currency fluctuations, H&M said gross margin would have been 60.8%.

H&M said that like for-like sales in February had fallen back 8% but that negative calender effects had affected sales by between 4% and 5% and that the figure was up against a 24% sales increase from February 2008.

Matthew Williamson for H&M

On April 23, the Matthew Williamson for H&M collection will hit around 200 H&M stores worldwide. On May 14, the range will be rolled out to around 1,600 stores.

The collection features dresses, tops, all-in-ones and sharp tailoring (see image gallery). Williamson has also designed a menswear collection for H&M - his first ever menswear collection. Details of the venture have not yet been released.

Matthew Williamson said: “I wanted to create a strong urban collection fused with the brand’s signature symbols and shapes. It’s been fascinating to search back through my archives to isolate the most iconic pieces, then rework them for H&M. Colour is one of the defining aspects of my signature style, I focused on the iconic peacock motif seen across my collections to develop a palette of blues, chartreuse and emerald. The spirit of the collection is both covetable and precious.”

Key Prices from Matthew Williamson for H&M

Grosgrain strap dress €69.90 (£65)

Cashmere cardigan €69.90 (£65)

Tuxedo jacket €99 (£92)

Metallic Jacquard jacket €99 (£92)

Bubble skirt €59.90 (£56)

Trousers €59.90 (£56)

Shorts €39.90 (£37)

All-in-one €199 (£185)

Jersey dress €69.90 (£65)

Sequin dress €199 (£185)

Ruffle gown €299 (£278)




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