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Record profits for H&M

Photo on first page: Copyright: H&M / Source:

Hennes & Mauritz recorded record profits of 2.3 billion kronor for the first quarter of the year. Stockholm’s bourse reacted promptly with shares in the company rising by 4% to 256 kronor on Wednesday morning.

H&M’s managing director, Rolf Eriksen, puts the figures down to better than expected Christmas sales.

“We’ve only needed to drop our prices slightly in January and February,” Eriksen told DN.

H&M continues to expand with 61 new stores planned for the second quarter of the year, 12 of which will be in Germany. Spain and Poland are to get 6 new stores each. During the same period last year 50 new stores opened.

By the end of the year H&M expect to have 1200 stores worldwide in twenty-two countries.

Germany, representing 30% of H&M’s overall market, was said to have delivered disappointing results. The company’s best-performing stores in the first quarter of the year were in the Nordic region, Spain, France and North America.

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Anna Hasselborg of Sweden's curling team tries out new kit supplied for the country's athletes by Uniqlo. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The clothing chain, one of the world’s fastest-growing retail companies, is also set to open more stores in the Scandinavian country.

“Swedes are so sophisticated and warm-hearted,” Uniqlo Europe CEO Taku Morikawa said, stressing how welcome his company has been made to feel.

Morikawa was in Sweden to present the partnership between Uniqlo and the Swedish Olympic Committee at an event at Uniqlo’s store on Hamngatan in Stockholm.

Sweden’s athletes wore teamwear supplied by H&M at the last two Olympic Games.

The Stockholm store, Uniqlo’s first in the Nordic region, opened its doors in August 2018. An expansion is now planned on the Swedish market, although Morikawa declined to reveal where.

“We definitely have plans to open more stores here,” he said.

A store will also open in Danish capital Copenhagen in the coming spring as Uniqlo’s holding company Fast Retailing continues its global expansion.

Sales figures in Sweden’s clothing retail sector have seen a downward trend in recent years, with an exception in 2015.

H&M is usually cited as one of Uniqlo’s main competitors.

The impact of a new player on an already-competitive market is difficult to predict, according to the Swedish Trade Federation (Svensk Handel).

“Locally, competition is sharpened, but competition is already fierce. I would be inclined to say that this type of partly new concept store can, instead, help to revitalise the physical retail sector for clothing,” the association’s head economist Johan Davidson said.  

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