PARIS – Hennes & Mauritz on Thursday said store openings and lower buying costs boosted first-quarter profits 28 percent, illustrating the Swedish fast-fashion giant’s ability to log impressive growth in a challenging market.

H&M said group profit after taxes in the three months through Feb. 29 reached 2.94 billion Swedish kronor, or $458.7 million, as sales advanced 18 percent to 19.74 billion Swedish kronor, or $3.1 billion.

The Stockholm-based firm said “well-composed collections and expanded Internet and catalogue sales and a slightly positive calendar effect” drove the growth.

For full coverage, see Friday’s issue of WWD.