PARIS – Strong holiday sales propelled Hennes & Mauritz’s full-year profit ahead a better than expected 17 percent as the Swedish fast-fashion chain said it would push into the home textile market and start opening stores for its new more expensive chain this March.

H&M said profit after financial items hit 15.81 billion Swedish kronor, or $2.26 billion at current exchange, from 13.55 billion kronor, or $1.94 billion last year.

Sales in the fourth quarter rose 8 percent to 19.51 billion kronor, or $2.79 billion, from 18.01 billion kronor, or $2.58 billion, driven by a 16 percent increase in December revenues.

Meanwhile H&M said it would launch H&M Home textiles starting with Internet and catalogue sales this fall.

The chain also revealed the name of its new more expensive retail foray, Collection of Style, or COS. The first store will open in March on London’s Regent Street, carrying both women and men’s collections.

H&M said some ten stores are scheduled to open during the year in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.

An “extended shoe assortment” for women is also reaching fruition, with a launch planned in some 200 H&M stores this spring.

For complete coverage see tomorrow’s issue of WWD.

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