By  on April 8, 2010

PARIS — Hennes & Mauritz AB, the world’s third-largest fashion retailer, saw net profits jump 45 percent in the first quarter as store openings in South Korea and Israel and an early Easter weekend boosted sales despite lingering economic doldrums.

Net profits in the three months ended Feb. 28 totaled 3.74 billion kronor, or $521 million, beating analysts’ expectations and sending the company’s shares up 5.5 percent to close at 496.50 Swedish kronor, or $68.62 at current exchange rates, on the Stockholm stock exchange on Thursday.

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