STOCKHOLM: H&M said unusually hot weather in many of its European markets had delayed the start of the autumn shopping season, sending sales lower in September, while cost cuts helped the fashion retailer's quarterly profit rise.
H&M, whose biggest rival is Zara owner Inditex, said September sales would be down 10% year-on-year measured in local currencies.
Operating profit in the June-August period, the Swedish group's third quarter, was 4.74 billion crowns ($430.7 million) against a year-earlier 902 million. Analysts polled by LSEG had on average forecast a 4.72 billion crown profit.
The year-ago figure includes a one-off cost of 2.1 billion crowns for the group's exit from Russia.
"The cost and efficiency programme is proceeding at full speed and will continue to have an effect in the coming quarters," H&M said. "Our goal of an operating margin of 10% during 2024 remains."
The company also said it had this month returned to JD.com, one of China's biggest e-commerce marketplaces, after a prolonged absence due to criticism over its stance on alleged human rights abuses in China's Xinjiang region.
It returned to Alibaba's Tmall e-commerce platform last year, but has not been available on JD.com since 2021.
H&M announced a share buyback programme starting on Wednesday, planning to buy back shares for up to 3 billion crowns by March 31 next year.
(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom and Helen Reid; Editing by Terje Solsvik and Jan Harvey)