H&M Sales Dip 8 Percent in September

Recession, warm weather dampen same-store sales.

PARIS — Swedish fast-fashion chain Hennes & Mauritz AB reported a worse-than-expected dip in September sales from established stores, hurt by the continuing recession and the unusually warm weather in most of its markets.

This story first appeared in the October 16, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

In September, sales from stores open for at least a financial year declined 8 percent compared with analysts’ expectations of a 7 percent drop, missing forecasts for the second month in a row.

“Sales were satisfactory where the weather conditions were more normal,” said the world’s third-largest fashion chain by revenue behind U.S.-based Gap Inc. and Spain’s Inditex SA.

Last month H&M reported a weaker-than-expected 11 percent decline in comparable sales during August.

September total sales, which include sales from new stores, rose 1 percent, helped by H&M’s continued expansion into new markets. At the end of September, H&M operated 1,869 stores, compared with 1,659 a year earlier.

H&M doesn’t provide actual sales figures, but only releases percentage changes for its monthly sales updates.

Last month, H&M signed French designer Sonia Rykiel to design lingerie and knitwear collections in the latest of its designer partnerships aimed to widen its customer reach. H&M’s much-awaited collaboration with luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo will go on sale in November.

Shares in H&M closed down 0.4 percent at 406.5 kronor, or $58.72 at current exchange rates, on Thursday.