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H&M Sales Rise 13% in Q4

The Swedish fast-fashion giant reported same-store sales jumped 10 percent in November.

PARIS — Hennes & Mauritz AB said sales including value-added tax in the fiscal fourth quarter rose to 42.59 billion Swedish kronor, or $6.5 billion, a 13 percent gain in local currency terms.

This story first appeared in the December 17, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The Swedish high-street retailer, which will publish full-year results on Jan. 30, said sales in comparable units for the period of Sept. 1 to Nov. 30 were up 3 percent. All dollar rates are calculated at average exchange for the period to which they refer.

H&M also reported that same-store sales rose 10 percent in November after a 1 percent increase the previous month. Total revenues in local currencies were up 21 percent, the strongest monthly increase in 20 months, after rising 11 percent in October.

The retailer said sales in November were boosted by cold weather across many of its key markets, and calendar effects.

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Though H&M reported rising sales and profits in the third quarter, some analysts have expressed reservations about whether it can durably improve its margins in the face of strong competition from low-cost retailers like Primark and the pressure of ongoing investments in e-commerce and its other brands, like & Other Stories.

Nils Vinge, head of investor relations at H&M, was conservative in his assessment of the November sales data.

“Lots of things went our way in November, but I think it’s important to stress — just like we do if it’s a weak month — that it is just a monthly number and you should always see the sales over a season,” he said. “We’re never fully happy. We can always do better.”

Among the contributors to the monthly sales rise was the successful launch of the Isabel Marant line for the fast-fashion giant, which went on sale Nov. 14 in more than 250 H&M locations and online. The capsule collection sold out in many markets on the first day, according to Vinge.

“We believe that the collections this year are even better than last year, and the customer seems to agree — that’s great. And Isabel Marant was a huge success, absolutely, but in the total of numbers, of course, that plays a minor role,” he said.

The store count stood at 3,132 on Nov. 30 versus 2,776 stores on Nov. 30, 2012.