PARIS — Fast-fashion behemoth Hennes & Mauritz on Wednesday reported better-than-expected first-half profits but the company disappointed with its second-quarter sales performance.

The Swedish firm’s profit growth was a bit slower in the quarter ended May 31 than in the half, with net pretax profits for the three months up 20 percent to $334.5 million from $278.7 million. H&M, which opened 53 stores in the six months ended May 31, said net pretax profit for the year to date rose 28.2 percent to $554.7 million, versus $432.5 million in the year-earlier period.

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