PARIS – Hennes & Mauritz AB, the world’s third-largest fashion retailer, said net profits rose 24 percent in the second quarter, but sales of its spring garments were disappointing due to unusually cold weather in most of its markets.
Net profits in the three months ended May 31 amounted to 5.21 billion kronor, or $710 million, on sales of 31.6 billion kronor, or $4.3 billion. Same-store sales were down by 1 percent in the quarter. Dollar figures are converted at average exchange rates for the period.
Like-for-like sales fell 4 percent in May compared with the same month last year, with the retailer reporting that unspecified calendar effects had a negative impact of 3 to 4 percentage units in the month. Including new stores, sales grew 6 percent in May and 22 percent during the period of June 1-22, it added.
The Swedish high-street giant said weaker-than-expected spring sales had left it with 2 percent more stock than last year. “This could lead to a higher price reduction level in the third quarter compared to the corresponding quarter last year,” it said.
Gross margin — a key measure of profitability — rose to 65.9 percent in the second quarter from 61 percent a year earlier, boosted by a weaker dollar during the purchasing period for garments sold in the quarter. “Other factors, such as greater surplus capacity at suppliers, lower transportation costs, favorable raw material prices and efficiencies in the buying process also impacted the gross margin positively in the second quarter 2010,” it said.
H&M announced it would enter Croatia and Romania in 2011 with store openings in Zagreb and Bucharest in the spring. Also next year, Morocco will become a new franchise market with a store opening in Casablanca in the fall. The company said it had postponed the planned opening of a COS store in Hong Kong from fall 2010 to sometime next year.