Swedish fashion group Hennes & Mauritz has managed both a turnover and profit increase in what is considered to be a 'challenging climate' for the fashion sector - even though its turnover growth has slowed down, especially in its home market.
Market share keeps growing
In its first quarter (December - February), H&M turnover saw its turnover increase 13 % to 32 billion Swedish krona (some 3.6 billion euro). Its net profit, almost 300 million euro, was 8 % higher than the same quarter the year before.
"Sales have got off to a good start with an increase of 12 % in local currencies in the first quarter in a fashion retail market that in many places is still characterised by a challenging macroeconomic situation and we have continued to gain market share", CEO Karl-Johan Persson has said, declining to give more precise numbers.
Remarkable is that growth in Switzerland, the Netherlands and home country Sweden has been slower than in other important markets. Its 130 Dutch stores have 'only' managed a 2 % turnover increase, compared to Germany's + 7 % and France's + 11 %. The chain's best performance can be found in Italy, where it managed a 28 % increase.
375 new stores this year
World's second largest fashion concern will keep opening new stores this year, with new flagship stores in Melbourne, Milan, Shanghai, Munich and New York (on Fifth Avenue and Herald Square). Aside from that, H&M will open its very first store in Australia with new additions after the summer in the Philippines and India, with Peru and South Africa planned for 2015.
Main chain H&M is not the only one making moves, as affiliate COS has opened its very first store in Switzerland in February and is expanding to the United States, South Korea and Australia soon. & Other Stories will then join the Belgian, Dutch and American markets soon.
The Swedes are also working on their online future, with an H&M web shop opening in France mid-March and Spanish, Italian and Chinese versions to follow soon. COS on the other hand will open its American web shop this year, while & Other Stories will do the same thing in Australia, the United States and Ireland.