H&M heralds “strong” expansion following improved sales

<p>H&M has posted a 36 per cent increase in net profits for the past year.</p>

Fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) has announced a substantial increase in sales and net profits for the past year.

The Swedish company revealed a 36 per cent rise in net profits, reaching 3.6 billion Swedish kronor (£284 million), compared to a year earlier. Following the announcement, H&M highlighted its "strong" store and online expansion as being responsible for this positive shift in performance over the past 12 months.

Shares in the company were up 2.11 per cent at the close of markets of Monday (March 23rd) as H&M outlined its intentions for the coming financial year. During the 2014/15 period, H&M plans to open around 400 new stores across the world. This aims to build on its lines of products which it describes as being "well-received" during the December-to-February period.

Karl-Johan Persson, H&M chief executive said: "We have made a very good start to 2015 – in terms of both sales and profits.

"Our attractive customer offering and strong expansion both through stores and online, as well as our work on continuous improvement, are among the reasons for increased market share gains and good profits."

Bucking the trend

H&M's success has proved a brief respite for the retail sector which has experienced some difficult trading conditions in the past few years, especially in the UK. Supermarkets continue to be embroiled in a fierce price war while the invention of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other consumer trends has seen a focus away from the traditionally busy periods of Christmas.

The company announced that its positive performance over the past year has meant it can open the door to new markets. In the next financial year, H&M wants to enter online markets in Portugal, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Belgium and the Czech Republic as well as Switzerland.

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