The brand’s sales including VAT were up by five percent compared to the same month in 2015, but that was short of the nine percent hike previously forecast by analysts polled by Reuters.
“In many of H&M’s big markets the cold spring continued into April, which has had an adverse impact on sales of the spring collection,” explained the retailer in a comment reported by news agency TT.
The company’s home nation of Sweden experienced changeable April weather, with snowfall persisting into the final weeks of the month in southern and central parts of the country, and sub-zero temperatures continuing late into spring.
That can have a profound impact on a clothing retailer’s sales, according to a fashion expert consulted by The Local.
“The weather definitely affects the way we shop – if it doesn’t change the way people expect then customers aren’t naturally prompted to update their wardrobe for the new season,” said Beatrice Trodden, fashion editor at Swedish magazine The You Way.
“People are inspired and affected by their surroundings. It’s fun to buy a pretty summer dress when the sun is shining, not when it’s cold and windy,” she added.
“Retail can really feel the effects of the weather. The same thing happens in autumn: if the weather stays warm for a long time, sales of coats will be lower than usual.”
Reports of weak April sales have already have had a knock-on effect on H&M's shares, with a price drop of 1.6% on the Stockholm stock exchange reported after the figures were revealed, according to TT.