H&M reports strong recovery despite falling first-half profits


PARIS – The H&M Group has reported a good start to the third quarter as stores continue to reopen around the world.

“With our highly regarded collections, our ongoing transformation and the fact that markets are gradually opening up, our recovery is strong,” said Helena Helmersson, CEO of the H&M Group on Thursday.

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Net sales during the period June 1 to 28 increased 25% in local currencies, but business continues to be affected by store closings, according to the retailer.

The Swedish company released details of its results for the first half of the year ending May 31, which showed the company is “almost back to where we were before the pandemic,” the executive noted, who cited the development. ongoing online sales as a highlight of the period.

Second quarter results were better than expected, RBC’s Richard Chamberlain said in an emailed note to clients, noting that earnings per share of SEK 1.67 exceeded consensus expectations. The quarterly figure “is expected to be the first in a succession of margin beats,” the analyst said.

Chamberlain added that the June sales figure was a bit lower than expected, however.

Profit after tax was SEK 2.77 billion, or $ 320 million, with the company noting that cost containment efforts allowed it to increase profit after financial items.

The group, which operates Cos, Monki, & Other Stories, Arket and Weekday in addition to H&M, has cut costs – cutting jobs in Spain, for example – and renegotiated leases for its retail network since the pandemic . Before COVID-19, it was committed to an overhaul of operations to improve digital services and enrich its offer. Signs of improvement had started to appear as the crisis progressed.

Group executives have said they will continuously assess the physical store fleet, even if they see an interest from customers to return to shop in person when possible. In recent years, the group has focused on integrating digital shopping avenues with stores as a key priority.

H&M noted that the brand opened online operations in Qatar in March and began selling on the Zalora e-commerce platform in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. The label will enter Cambodia via a franchise agreement next year.

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