H&M comparable sales grew 4 percent in August

today Sep 16, 2013
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STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz said on Monday sales at stores open at least a year rose a slightly more-than-expected 4 percent in August, the biggest rise in eleven months.

The mean forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts had been for a 3 percent rise in local currencies.

Total sales in August - the final month of H&M's fiscal third quarter - were up 14 percent in local currencies, above a forecast of 13 percent.

Net quarterly sales, excluding sales tax, totalled 32.0 billion Swedish crowns ($4.9 billion), compared with a forecast of 31.8 billion and up from a year-earlier 28.8 billion.

Clothing retailers have had tough times in Europe as consumers have been reluctant to spend in the face of economic uncertainty.

H&M saw sales in stores open a year or more fall each month from October 2012 through March this year. Like-for-like sales have stabilized since then, although they fell again unexpectedly in July.

H&M, which makes most of its sales in Europe, did not comment on the figures. It said it had 2,964 stores on Aug. 31, up from 2,629 a year earlier.

H&M shares are up 11 percent this year, outperforming larger rival Inditex whose shares are up 4.3 percent. The FTSEurofirst 300 index is up 10 percent.

($1 = 6.5678 Swedish crowns)

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