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H&M misses sales target despite growth

Group sales including VAT at Swedish retail giant H&M rose 7% to SEK 173.3bn (£15.9bn) in the nine months from 1 December 2016-31 August 2017

Group sales including VAT were also up 5% to SEK 59.38bn (£5.4bn) during the three months to 31 August 2017. Profit after tax during the same period was SEK 3.8bn (£351m), which H&M said had been affected by large markdowns as the retailer tried to clear inventory.

CEO Karl-Johan Persson said: “The fashion retail sector is growing and is in a period of extensive and rapid change as a result of ongoing digitalisation. The competitive landscape is being redrawn, new players are coming in and customers’ behaviour and expectations are changing, with an ever greater share of sales taking place online.

“This shift is clearly reflected in our online sales, which continue to develop very well. However, our growing online sales did not fully compensate for reduced footfall to stores in several of our established markets, which has resulted in our total sales development not reaching our targets so far this year. This is, of course, something that we are not satisfied with and which, among other things, resulted in us entering the third quarter with inventory levels that were too high.”

H&M did not give figures but said there had been “very good development” at its Cos, & Other Stories, Monki, Weekday and H&M Home fascias.

H&M will open online stores in the Philippines and Cyprus in 2017, as well as India in 2018. New physical stores are also planned in Uruguay and Ukraine next year.

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