By  on March 15, 2013

PARIS — Hennes & Mauritz AB said sales including VAT in the fiscal first quarter rose 2 percent to 33.1 billion Swedish kronor, or $5.1 billion, compared to the same period last year.

The Swedish fast-fashion retailer said first-quarter sales in local currencies rose 6 percent between Dec.1, 2012, and Feb. 28, including VAT, compared to the same period last year. Sales in comparable units were down 3 percent.

The difference between SEK and local currency numbers reflects the continued strengthening of the krona, the group reported.

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All dollar rates are calculated at average exchange rates for the period in question.

The figures come after Spanish rival Inditex reported a 22 percent leap in net profits and a 16 percent rise in sales in its fiscal year.

In February, H&M’s total sales increased 5 percent year-on-year, including VAT in local currencies, the Swedish group also reported. Sales in comparable units, which includes stores, Web sales and catalogues in operation for at least a year, declined by 3 percent.

Sales were negatively impacted by the leap day on February 29, 2012, resulting in a 3 percentage point disadvantage, the group said.

H&M’s stores numbered 2,818 on Feb. 28, 2013, compared with 2,491 on Feb. 29, 2012.

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