H&M deliver upbeat report

Swedish clothing giant Hennes & Mauritz reported a profit before tax of 4.85 billion kronor ($717 million) for the period June-August, the third quarter in the company's irregular accounting period.

H&M deliver upbeat report

The corresponding period of 2010, earnings before tax amounted to 5,735 million kronor.

The bar was set low before the report was published. Analysts had expected a profit of 4,660 million kronor, according to news agency Reuters.

H&M is now increasing its expansion and is counting on 265 new stores during the accounting year. Previously they had planned for 250 stores.

”The fourth quarter will be very intense on openings, with about two new stores a day,” said H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson, who despite the fall compared to last year says that sales have been ”satisfactory”.

A great deal of the expansion is taking place in Asia. Recently the clothing chain opened their first store in Singapore.

”We’ve had a great start there, way above our very optimistic expectations,” said Persson.

In the coming year the firm plans to open its first stores in Indonesia and Thailand through franchising agreements.

Persson wrote in a statement that the company continues to take market share even in the challenging financial climate and stressed the need for long term planning.

H&M’s turnover during the quarter came to 26.91 billion kronor, compared to 26.89 billion in the corresponding period the year before.

The interim report impressed the market enough to ensure a rise for H&M shares when the Stockholm stock exchange opened on Thursday, and helped sustain a positive market development for the remainder of the day.

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H&M competitor to sponsor Sweden’s Olympic team

Six months after establishing itself in Stockholm, Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo has announced it will sponsor Sweden’s athletes at the 2020 Olympics.

H&M competitor to sponsor Sweden's Olympic team
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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