By  on April 15, 2009

PARIS – Reflecting a sluggish market for apparel in the economic downturn, same-store sales at Sweden’s Hennes & Mauritz fell 3 percent in March.

Total sales, including those from new stores but excluding currency effects, advanced 6 percent.

The fast-fashion giant operated 1,767 stores as of March 31, versus 1,546 a year ago.

In February, like-for-like sales fell 8 percent. H&M has skewed the majority of its openings this year to the second half in hopes market conditions will improve.

The brand recently expanded into Russia, and plans to open its first store in South Korea in spring 2010.

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