PARIS — Sales at Hennes & Mauritz AB picked up steam in May, rising 9 percent in local currencies and including VAT.
Adjusted for calendar effects, sales for the month increased 11 percent. An H&M spokesman explained that there were fewer Fridays and Saturdays in May 2016 versus May 2015, and those are the busiest trading days of the week.
This compares to a 5 percent uptick in April, when the Swedish retail giant pointed at cold spring weather in Europe that dampened sales of midseason apparel. Sales in March had gained 2 percent, signaling challenging times for Europe’s fast-fashion players in the face of skittish consumers.
For the quarter ended May 31, sales gained 5 percent in local currencies and including VAT to total 54.34 billion Swedish krona, or $6.59 billion at average exchange rates. Sales excluding VAT came to 46.87 billion krona, or $5.69 billion.
At the end of the quarter, the store count stood at 4,077 locations compared to 3,639 a year ago.
In a research note, Barclays pointed out that H&M numbers were better than clothing sales in Germany, down an estimated 1 percent, but worse than its Spanish rival Inditex who reported a 15 percent gain between May 1 and June 13.
H&M is due to report full results for its fiscal second quarter on June 22, and June sales on July 15.