NEW YORK — Shoppers gobbling up the Karl Lagerfeld collection last November, along with lower markdown activity and international growth, allowed global specialty retailer H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB to deliver robust quarterly results.
H&M’s fourth-quarter bottom line bolted 23.9 percent to 4.06 billion kronor, or $605.9 million at average exchange, on sales that soared 14.7 percent to 15.87 billion kronor, or $2.37 billion.
“Things were weak in the opening of the quarter, but the closing was very strong,” said Carl-Henric Enhörning, head of investor relations, on a conference call Friday. He cited low markdown levels, international expansion and cost controls for the company’s profit increase in the quarter.
For 2005, the company plans to offer a larger amount of women’s formalwear than has been available in prior years.
“You can also expect to find some of the garments with higher quality than you did before. This is something that we’re trying out,” chief executive officer Rolf Eriksen said on the call.
The launch of Lagerfeld at H&M bolstered sales in November by at least 24 percent. But there were other dynamics at play that drove shoppers into the Swedish firm’s stores. Enhörning said overall merchandise prices dropped 4 percent in the quarter.
“First and foremost, our collections were appreciated by our customers,” Enhörning said. “We have been able to lower customer prices because of a weakened U.S. dollar, which has led to reduced buying costs. The average price per article was around 4 percent lower in 2004 than the year before. This means that the turnover increase of 12 percent translates to a volume increase of 16 percent.”
Enhörning also said the strong bottom line was “the result of several factors: continued cost consciousness, low price reductions, cost-efficient expansion and also positive effects from a weaker dollar to the benefit of our customers as well as for H&M.”
For the year, sales rose 11 percent to 53.7 billion kronor, or $7.26 billion, while profits climbed 15 percent to 11.01 billion kronor, or $1.49 billion.
During the year, the firm opened 136 stores.He said one of the year’s key openings “was the flagship…on Lexington Avenue, straight across [from] Bloomingdale’s.”
Looking ahead, H&M said it will add between 145 to 155 new stores in 2005 with a focus on Germany, its largest market. Ireland and Hungary will be new markets, and H&M expects to end the year with about 1,200 stores.
Regarding the lifting of the quota, the company said it’s getting better prices on some items so far this year.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)