Saturday, September 25, 2021

H&M sales still lag behind pre-pandemic levels as restrictions bite

STOCKHOLM – Fashion retailer H&M’s sales grew less than expected in the three months to the end of August, falling below pre-pandemic levels as restrictions kept shoppers away from stores.

The Swedish conglomerate said on Wednesday that sales rose 9 percent, or 14 percent in local currency terms, to 55.6 billion crowns ($6.46 billion) from a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv forecast net sales growth of 14 percent on average.

The world’s second-largest fashion retailer’s net sales were down 11 percent from the same quarter of 2019 before the pandemic, when they stood at 62.6 billion crowns.

H&M, whose shares were down 3 percent in early trading, said the pandemic continued to impact sales, with markets varying significantly between the markets.

“Lockdowns and restrictions continue to impede growth, especially in Asia. However, as restrictions are eased, in-store sales have increased in many markets, while online sales continue to rise,” it said.

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H&M made a comeback in the April-June quarter with sales up 4 per cent in 2019 from a year-ago loss due to the pandemic. But sales slowed toward the end of the quarter.

H&M’s recovery has lagged behind Zara owner Inditex, which on Wednesday reported a 7 per cent rise in May-July sales compared to the same period in 2019.

H&M, which is due to publish its full fiscal third-quarter earnings report on September 30, said its recovery continued with higher full-price sales and good cost controls.

It said about 100 stores temporarily closed at the end of the quarter, down from about 180 initially, with continued restrictions in most markets resulting in lower footfalls.

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($1 = 8.6130 Swedish Crown)

by Anna Ringstrom

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

H&M sales still lag behind pre-pandemic levels as restrictions bite
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