Retailer H&M records unexpected high sales in clothing market | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 20.06.2012
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Retailer H&M records unexpected high sales in clothing market

Swedish clothing retailer H&M has reported surprisingly high sales and profits for the second quarter of 2012. Despite the debt crisis in Europe, the company is sticking to its expansion course in Germany and elsewhere.

Swedish clothing giant Hennes & Mauritz on Wednesday reported a 23-percent jump in net profit for the second quarter of this year. Earnings in the period totaled 5.2 billion Swedish crowns ($745 million, 590 million euros).

Second quarter sales increased by 15 percent year-on-year, to 31.6 billion Swedish crowns. H&M said it had adapted to high cotton prices, which gave the firm a headache in the first three months of this year.

"We've been able to gain market shares, although many countries are still in a challenging macro-economic situation with austerity measures and restrained consumption," the company said in a statement.

Germany a supreme market

But despite sluggish consumption in many parts of the eurozone, the Swedish clothing retailer does not intend to slow down its expansion drive. "Our expansion plan remains intact, and we plan to open 275 new stores during the full year," chief executive Karl-Johan Persson told reporters in Stockholm.

He said the firm would build new stores in Bulgaria, Latvia, Mexico, Malaysia and Thailand. In the second half of the year, H&M would launch online sales in the United States.

The company said it has 2,575 stores around the globe, out of which 375 were in Germany. Going by sales and profits for the first two quarters of 2012, Germany is the retail chain's most important individual market.

hg/ncy (dpa, dapd)