PARIS – Hennes & Mauritz AB said sales including VAT advanced 7 percent in local currencies between March 1 and 28, compared with the same prior-year period. During the entire month of March, the Swedish fast-fashion giant’s revenues gained 6 percent.

“The group stated at the Q1 results that March was up 7 percent after the first 28 days – so there was a deterioration at the end of the period. However, this compares an Easter week with a non-Easter week, and the weather is also more variable, so there is limited conclusion that can be drawn from this in our view,” wrote Julian Easthope, a luxury goods analyst at Barclays Capital, in a note.

“This is slightly below the 7 percent both SME consensus and Barclays were estimating – although this is not meaningful at this stage,” he continued.

H&M’s March results came after an improvement in February, when the company registered a 3 percent sales gain in local currencies compared with the same month in 2016, when adjusted for negative calendar effects.

As reported H&M sales, including VAT, converted into Swedish krona, rose 7 percent in the first quarter to 54.4 billion kroner, or $6.02 billion. In local currencies, sales including VAT were up by 4 percent in the period from Dec. 1, 2016, to Feb. 28, 2017. Dollar figures are calculated at average exchange for the respective periods.

The company said sales in March, April and May should be viewed together, in part due to the fact the Easter holiday falls in different months depending on the year and that weather is variable.

H&M had a total of 4,426 stores worldwide as of March 31 versus 3,997 a year earlier. That brings the total net openings in the current fiscal year up to 75.

The retailer is scheduled to publish its percentage sales development for April on May 8.

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