PARIS Hennes & Mauritz AB said same-store sales fell 5 percent in March following 10 consecutive months of increases, as this year’s late Easter weekend negatively impacted the annual comparison.

Sales in local currencies rose 2 percent, indicating a slowdown at the end of the month, as the Swedish fast-fashion giant had previously announced a 3 percent rise in total sales during the period of March 1 to 29.

“Sales development in March 2011 should be seen in the light of a very strong sales increase in the corresponding month last year, which among other things was affected by a positive Easter effect,” H&M said.

In March 2010, H&M had reported a 9 percent rise in same-store sales and a 21 percent jump in sales in local currencies.

The retailer only releases percentage changes for monthly sales and does not break out actual sales figures, although it will start publishing enhanced monthly sales data starting in June.

Figures for February, May and August, previously published in connection with the relevant interim report, will now be broken out separately, as will December sales data. H&M will also provide sales figures in Swedish kronor for each quarter in order to illustrate the impact of currency translations.

The store count at the world’s third-largest fashion chain stood at 2,238 doors on March 31, compared with 2,018 stores at the same time last year.

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