H&M to launch website as profits beat expectations

H&M is to start selling online in the UK from next autumn, following the decision made by its fast fashion arch-rival Zara to do the same last week. The announcement came as the Swedish fashion giant revealed third-quarter pre-tax profits were slightly higher than expected, although August sales were heavily down.

According to Drapers: “H&M’s pre-tax earnings in the nine months to the end of August were up 4% to SEK 4.77bn (£428m) compared with a forecast SEK4.75bn (£426m), and SEK4.59bn (£412m) last year.

However year-on-year sales fell 3% in local currencies compared with an expected rise of 5%.

For the month of August, total sales fell by the same amount, but like-for-like sales plummeted 11%.”

UBS analyst Andy Hughes said the fall was down to a lack of stock. “H&M seems to have run out of Spring/Summer stock as a result of very cautious budgets. Other retailers have been equally cautious but have been able to chase stock to avoid this.”

So far this year H&M has opened 85 stores and closed nine, with the total now numbering 1,840, of which 31 are franchise outlets.

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