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H&M sales and profits up despite warm August

H&M’s profit after tax rose 12% to SEK 15.4bn (£1.2bn) in the nine months to August 31, compared to the same period the year before.

Although the warm weather in some of its European markets made for difficult trading in August, H&M’s group sales excluding VAT rose 22% to SEK 132bn (£10.3bn) over the nine months, or 12% in local currencies.

Sales between September 1 and 22 are up 12% in local currencies on the same period last year, the company said. It did not provide a breakdown for the UK.

The group, which includes H&M, & Other Stories, Cheap Monday, Cos and Monki, continued its strong retail expansion, and plans to have opened 400 new stores (net) by the end of 2015. It will launch into India and South Africa in October. In the 2015/2016 financial year, H&M plans to open stores in three new markets – New Zealand, Cyprus and Puerto Rico.

It will also debut local ecommerce sites in Switzerland and Russia this autumn. Next year, this will be extended to Ireland, Japan, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg.

The group’s new concept, H&M Beauty, was launched during the summer in around 700 stores in 28 markets, as well as online. H&M will roll this out to a further 14 markets during the autumn, and has hinted at other new concepts and brands to come.

Chief executive Karl-Johan Persson said:  “So far this year our sales have exceeded SEK 153bn (£11.9bn) including VAT, an increase of more than 20% and an acknowledgement that our collections are well appreciated worldwide.

“Sales were also good in the third quarter even though sales in August were negatively affected by the unseasonably warm weather in many of our large European markets. When the weather became more normal in September, sales took off again and we are looking forward to autumn.”

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