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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.

Burberry to Launch Social Networking website

Luxury fashion retailer Burberry is to launch a social networking site next month as an attempt to forge a closer relationship with customers and attract new shoppers.

The site, artofthetrench.com, will initially feature users sending in pictures of themselves wearing Burberry trench coats.

The retailer said it already has more than 660,000 fans on Facebook.
Chief executive Angela Ahrendts told the Financial Times: “These might not even be customers yet. Or they may be a customer for a bottle of fragrance or for eyewear. But these are the customers who need the brand experience, who need to feel the brand. That word-of-mouth spreads through their social networks and continues to be a positive conversation [about Burberry]… that is so powerful.”

However, the site has already been criticised due to the negative connotations Burberry has in the UK and has received the nickname of “Chavbook”. Popular consumer website Bitterwallet made their thought’s perfectly clear by tagging the article as “Shit Idea”.

However, I think the negativity over this website because of its association as ‘chav clobber providists’ is unjustified. When Christopher Bailey visited my University he said he wasn’t too worried about this association as the majority of their sales are from abroad and the idea of “Chav” culture is only recognised in the UK.

Despite this, I still think the website’s a bad idea.