Stockholm — Fashion retailer H & M’s sales were below expectations in the three months to the end of August, below pre-pandemic levels as shoppers moved away from stores due to restrictions.
According to the Swedish group, Wednesday sales increased 9% year-on-year and 14% on a local currency basis to 55.6 billion crowns ($ 6.46 billion). Analysts polled by Refinitiv forecast an average net sales growth of 14%.
Net sales of the world’s second-largest fashion retailer fell 11% from the 62.6 billion crowns in the same quarter of 2019 before the pandemic.
H & M, whose market share fell 3% in early trading, said the pandemic continued to hurt sales and there was considerable variability between markets.
“In particular in Asia, blockages and restrictions continue to hinder development, but deregulation has helped store sales pick up in many markets and online sales continue to grow,” he said. increase.
H & M returned to profitability in the April-June quarter from a pandemic loss in the year-ago quarter, up 4% from 2019. However, sales slowed towards the end of the quarter.
H & M’s recovery lags behind Zara’s owner, market leader Inditex. Inditex reported on Wednesday that May-July sales increased by 7% compared to the same period in 2019.
H & M, which plans to release the full third-quarter earnings report on September 30, said the recovery continued with more list-priced sales and better cost control.
At the end of the quarter, about 100 stores were temporarily closed, down from the original 180 stores, and most markets continue to be regulated, reducing their foothold.
($ 1 = 8.6130 Swedish krona)