The H&M group saw year-on-year sales increase by 7% in the six months to May 31, despite challenging trading conditions in March and April.
The second quarter saw a sales increase of 5% compared to the same period in 2015 with chief executive Karl-Johan Persson admitting this was a disappointing result for the Swedish retailer; despite sales rallying in May.
“The sales increase in March and April was significantly below our plan,” he said. “These two months were negatively affected by cold spring weather in many of our markets.
“In May, sales were much better with an increase of 9%, or 11% when adjusted for calendar effects.”
Profits in the second quarter were affected by the slowing US dollar as well as increased markdowns and the costs of the retailer’s “long-term investments”.
Persson added: ”It has been a challenging half-year for fashion retail in many markets, but we have great confidence going forward and are continuing to develop our offering further within all our brands.”
The report also highlighted a number of markets that H&M is looking to move into in the coming months. It currently has 4,000 stores in 62 countries, with plans to introduce stores in Puerto Rico in June and New Zealand and Cyprus this autumn.
Further ahead there are plans to open in “four or five” new markets in 2017, with Colombia confirmed as the principle target. The company is also looking to ramp up its ecommerce activity across a number of countries.
“A further two new online markets will open during the autumn: Canada and South Korea. And in 2017 we will continue the rapid roll-out of H&M’s online shop to further markets,” confirmed Persson.