PARIS — Hennes & Mauritz AB said sales including VAT in the third quarter totaled 31.51 billion Swedish kronor, or $4.9 billion, representing a 3 percent decrease in comparable units.

The Swedish high-street retailer, which will publish full third-quarter results on Sept. 29, did not provide an explanation for the drop, which comes as European households tighten their purse strings amid heightened worries about government debt and austerity measures.


In local currency terms, sales including VAT rose by 5 percent compared with the same quarter in 2010. Excluding VAT, sales amounted to 26.91 billion kronor, or $4.2 billion, versus 26.89 billion kronor, or $3.6 billion, during the same period a year earlier. All dollar rates are calculated at average exchange rates for the period in question.

H&M also reported that same-store sales were flat in August following a 6 percent drop in July. Sales in local currencies were up by 8 percent, an improvement versus July, when they rose by 3 percent. In August 2010, H&M had reported a 14 percent rise in same-store sales and a 24 percent jump in local currencies.


The store count at the world’s third-largest fashion chain stood at 2,325 on Aug. 31 versus 2,078 stores at the same time last year.