Flat H and M sales bring share fall prediction

Shares in Hennes and Mauritz AB are set to fall in opening deals after the Swedish clothing group said its sales in March were flat compered with a year earlier, well below market expectations for a 4 pct rise, dealers said.

“The company also points out that the timing of Easter had changed, falling in April this year compared with March last year,” said Credit Suisse, while pointing out that other retailers that have already reported sales over this period said this only had a negative impact of 1 pct.

The Swiss broker repeated its ‘underperform’.

Merrill Lynch said there is an increasing risk that the group will have to start discounting its range and said it believes a pick-up in April looks unlikely, which means forecasts are likely to come under pressure.

The US broker repeated its ‘sell’ stance.