Low-cost fashion brand H&M sees full-year sales up by 11pc

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Swedish low-cost fashion brand Hennes & Mauritz AB said its net sales have increased by 11 per cent to SEK232.7 billion (USD24.2 billion) last year “in an ever-changing fashion industry”.

The Stockholm-based group said its full year gross profit increased by nine per cent to SEK33.3 million (USD3.5 million).

The growth in sales was driven by both in-store and online sales, with a strong increase in online sales of 24 per cent in kronor while sales in the fourth quarter “was good in many markets”, the group said.

It singled out India where sales hiked by 33 per cent, Poland where it increased by 21 per cent, Mexico with 18 per cent and Russia with 12 per cent. Sales in the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) increased by six per cent and three per cent, respectively.

“This positive performance shows that we are on the right track,” said outgoing chief executive Karl-Johan Persson.

“In view of the ongoing transformation of fashion retail, we have been making significant and necessary investments for several years to secure the H&M group’s position and long-term development,” he added.

The group also announced a change in its leadership with Helena Helmersson becoming the new CEO while Stefan Persson — the board chairman for the past 20 years — will step down as at the AGM and proposes that Persson, who had been chief executive for the past decade, succeed him.

File photo of an H&M store. PHOTO: AFP