Sales at H&M up 2% in July despite market gloom

Sales at the world’s second- largest fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz grew for a third month in July, despite gloom in its biggest market, Germany, in a sign of robust demand for cheap clothes from shoppers.

Sales growth was slightly slower than most analysts had expected, however. Turnover at stores open a year or more was up 2 per cent year-on-year in local currencies.

The fast-expanding Swedish budget fashion firm’s total sales, including from newly opened stores, increased 11 per cent from a year earlier, compared with a mean forecast for a 12 per cent rise. H&M, present in 44 countries, is expanding in emerging markets, but has the bulk of its business still in Europe.

H&M, which trails Zara owner Inditex by stock market value, turnover, number of markets and number of stores, has weathered the downturn relatively well as shoppers focus on cheap fashion.

Nordea analyst Stefan Stjernholm said, “Looking at H&M this year, we know it’s a really tough market. Given that, I think HM has delivered a good sales development overall.”

Story from The Irish Times on Thursday 16th August 2012