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No let-up in H&M’s store openings

H&M is to strengthen its UK footprint this year, with a further 15 stores scheduled to open by the end of the year.

The chain currently has 230 stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland but will grow its stable by more than 6% in the next four months.

H&M country manager Carlos Duarte said: “The UK is still a very interesting market for us so we are looking all over the country.Medium-sized cities are particularly interesting since we are in all big cities quite strongly.”

New locations to open in autumn include Bangor in Northern Ireland and Perth in Scotland along with Salisbury, Hammersmith in southwest London, Norwich and Cheltenham.

Next spring H&M also plans to open a 35,500 sq ft store in Oxford, its first in the city.

“We were looking for a very long time for the right location there and for a unit with a proper size,” said Duarte.

H&M has 13 stores in Ireland but will increase this to 15 by the end of the year, with Dublin, where it already has two stores, a priority city.

“Ireland is obviously not as big as the UK but there is still a lot of possibility as we are not all over where we would like to be,” said Duarte.

The retailer has an investment fund dedicated to new store openings and refurbishments, although it could not disclose how much this is.

H&M’s UK arm grew pre-tax profits by 13.1% in its last financial year to November 30, 2012, with turnover rising “considerably”.

In the year the fast-fashion chain saw revenues climb 8.2% to £777.6m, generating a pre-tax profit of £17.7m.

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