H&M's quarterly sales surge as pandemic restrictions ease

STOCKHOLM: Quarterly turnover at H&M, the world's second-biggest fashion retailer, jumped from a year earlier as pandemic restrictions were eased, although revenue remained well below 2019 levels.

The Swedish group said on Tuesday net sales grew 62% in the period - its fiscal second quarter - from a year earlier, or 75% measured in local currencies, to 46.5 billion crowns ($5.59 billion). Analysts polled by Refinitiv had on average forecast net sales growth of 66%.

In the year-earlier quarter, the pandemic and government measures to slow it ground much of global trade and retail to a near halt and around 4,000 of H&M's around 5,000 stores were temporarily closed.

Compared with the second quarter of 2019, H&M's net sales were down 19%.

"As more people are vaccinated a number of markets have gradually allowed stores to reopen and the H&M group’s strong recovery continues," the company said in a statement.

"Online sales have continued to develop very well, even as the stores have opened. This shows that customers appreciate the collections and being able to shop via their preferred channel."

H&M said local-currency sales in the June 1-13 period were up 35% on the year, and up 2% from the corresponding period in 2019. It said around 180 stores were temporarily closed on June 13, down from around 1,300 at the start of March but up from around 140 at the end of May.

Market leader Inditex, the owner of Zara, and smaller rival Next, have also reported recovering sales on the back of easing restrictions.

Inditex said last week that sales in May and early June were higher than two years earlier, as it reported forecast-beating February-April profit.

H&M is scheduled to publish its full second-quarter earnings report on July 1. - Reuters

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