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H&M sales continue to rise strongly but late Black Friday dents Q4


H&M’s group sales results for Q4 and the full year on Monday showed that the Swedish fashion retail giant has continued to grow globally during 2019. Its net sales were up 11% to SEK232.7bn (€22.3bn) in the year, which translates into a 6% rise in local currencies.

But in the final quarter (the three months to November 30), the sales rise was a little lower with a 9% reported increase to SEK61.7bn, or a 5% local currencies rise. That was explained by the quarter being hit by calendar effects as this year’s later Black Friday meant that the giant shopping event’s impact will also spread into Q1, rather than being a Q4-only happening as it was last year. The amount in question is expected to be around SEK500m. Adjusted for this amount, sales in Q4 rose 10%, or 6% in local currencies, which is still lower than the figure for the full year but at least manages to come closer to it.

But regardless of that, the figures do underline the strength of the firm’s recovery. This time two years ago, the company was reporting a sales decline of 4% for Q4, or an increase of just 2% currency-neutral. And while the 2018 figures showed it was on the recovery trail, a second year of stronger sales rises are welcome and show the enduring nature of the recovery. Of course, the COS, & Other Stories and Arket owner is one of those companies that doesn’t share a lot of information in its sales statements and we don’t yet know whether that sales rise was achieved at the expense of margins. So we’ll have to wait until the full-year profit report at the end of January to get more details.

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