By  on December 16, 2004

PARIS — It seems the “Karl Lagerfeld effect” worked its magic on Hennes & Mauritz’s November sales.Meanwhile, a labor strike could hurt sales in France, the company said.The Swedish fashion giant reported on Wednesday a 24 percent hike in November sales, ahead of analysts’ consensus expectations for 19 percent growth. Though H&M declined to comment on the monthly figures, the one-off capsule collection Lagerfeld designed for H&M sold out within minutes in many of the chain’s stores during its Nov. 12 launch. A spokeswoman said H&M would provide more details when it reports its fourth-quarter results on Jan. 28. In a note to investors, Lehman Brothers attributed the strong growth, H&M’s best monthly performance since October 2002, to Lagerfeld’s collection and easy comparables last year. In November 2003, H&M sales increased 4 percent. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman said a strike at H&M’s only distribution center in France dragged on to a third day, threatening to throw a monkey wrench into the vital holiday selling season here. She said H&M was studying contingency plans to supply its 57 stores in France if the strike wears on. Workers called the strike late Monday, demanding an 11 percent wage hike, the spokeswoman said. Union representatives could not be reached for comment.

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