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H&M to open 400 stores and launch beauty brand in 2015


New York -- Swedish fast-fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) is in full expansion mode. Along with reporting a 17% increase in fiscal 2014 profits, the company said it plans to open 400 stores in 2015, with most of the openings in the United States and China. It will also enter several new markets, including India and South Africa.

In other news, H&M is launching a new beauty concept, H&M Beauty, with an initial debut in about 900 stores and online, starting in fall 2015.

H&M’s net profit for the fourth quarter, ended Nov. 30, rose 12% to 6.22 billion Swedish kronor (about $754 million). Sales rose 17% to 42.6 billion kronor.

“2014 has been a very good year for H&M," CEO Karl-Johan Persson said in a statement. "Well-received collections for all our brands and continued strong expansion both in stores and online have helped increase our market share.

The chain reported profit of 19.98 billion Swedish kroner (about $2.44 billion in U.S. dollars) for the full fiscal year, up 17% from a year ago. However, it warned that a stronger U.S. dollar will take a toll on costs this year.

The company, whose banners include H&M, Cos, & Other Stores and H&M Home, currently has more than 3,500 in 55 markets. It opened 379 stores in 2014, including 58 in the United States.

“New markets planned for 2015 are Taiwan, Peru, Macau, South Africa and India,” said Persson. “The greatest expansion will take place in existing markets where there is great potential to grow further. The most new stores will open in China and the US, but also in other large markets such as Poland and Germany.”

In addition, the company will roll out H&M’s online store to nine new markets in 2015: Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Switzerland.

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