Exterior of H&M store in Madrid, Spain.

PARIS Hennes & Mauritz AB said net profits rose 7 percent to 16.9 billion Swedish kronor, or $2.49 billion, in its fiscal year 2012.

The results, included in the Swedish retailer’s just-released annual report, were burdened by its ambitious investment strategy as well as negative currency translations.

Sales including VAT increased 8 percent to 141 billion Swedish kronor, or $20.8 billion, with the United States, Canada, China and Russia being H&M’s strongest markets.

All dollar rates are calculated at average exchange rate for the period from December 1, 2011, to November 30, 2012.

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The group’s chief executive officer Karl-Johan Persson explained: “In 2012 the consumer climate was even more challenging in many markets than in 2011. We are currently in a period of significant investment. These will generate revenue ahead and further strengthen H&M’s position.”

The gross margin for the group stood at 59.5 percent versus 60.1 percent in the previous year.

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