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H&M sales beat expectations

Like-for-like sales at fast-fashion chain H&M fell by 2% in October but performance was ahead of expectations.

Total sales for the month were up 9% but this was from 1,702 stores rather than the 1,490 stores H&M had on October 31 2007.

H&M’s comparable sales have been in negative territory for eight out of the past 11 months, and have been consistently down this autumn. Like-for-like sales in September were also down 2%, but total sales were up 10%.

Tony Shiret, retail analyst at investment bank Credit Suisse, said in a broker’s note that consensus estimates were that like-for-like sales would fall by 3% in October. He maintained H&M at an outperform rating.

Shiret said: “H&M is still in a better position than its peers. Valuation is still higher than these comparators but with a business model showing moderate impacts of cyclical demand rather than anything structural. It should remain a preferred pick in a sector which we expect to remain under pressure until early 2009 at least.”

This month, H&M launched a designer collaboration collection with Comme des Garçons. The collection drew crowds of shoppers to London’s West End and was a hit across all of H&M’s international markets.

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