H&M dresses up warm as strong winter collection boosts its sales

 
Joseph Millis
David Beckham models H&M’s Bodywear range of clothing
Hennes & Mauritz, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, yesterday reported higher-than-expected sales growth in December, helped by strong collections and colder weather after an unusually mild autumn in Europe.

For Sweden-based H&M, it was the ninth consecutive month that the company, which is also benefiting from a recovering North American economy, achieved sales clearly or slightly above analysts’ expectations in Reuters polls.

The company, which is second only to Zara-owner Inditex in annual sales, said its revenue rose 15 per cent year-on-year in December, above a 13 per cent increase forecast by analysts.

This compared with a 10 per cent rise in November.

Analyst Niklas Ekman at brokerage Carnegie said H&M’s sales growth stood out in the sector as it seemed to be shrugging off weak fashion demand across Europe, especially in Germany, the retailer’s biggest market.

“They are defying gravity,” he said.

European fashion retailers, most recently Marks & Spencer and Debenhams, complained of weak demand for high-margin winter clothing at the start of the season.

However, colder weather in December has since appeared to help sales.

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