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H&M opening 400 stores in 2015 amid 36% jump in Q1 profit


New York -- Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) on Tuesday posted a 36% jump in its first quarter profit, easily beating forecasts, and confirmed earlier reports that it plans to open 400 stores in its current fiscal year, with most of the locations in China and the United States. In New York, it will open a 61,000-sq.-ft. flagship — one of the largest H&Ms to date — in Manhattan’s Herald Square area.

The Swedish fast-fashion giant is also entering a number of markets including Taiwan, Peru, Macau South Africa and India. On the digital front, H&M will enter nine new online markets in 2015: Portugal, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium and Switzerland.

“At the same time as this expansion is going ahead, we are continuing to broaden our product range and to develop further our various other brands COS, & Other Stories, Monki, Weekday and Cheap Monday, which are all becoming more and more established in the world of fashion,” stated H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson. “And in the autumn we are looking forward to offering our customers our latest initiative, H&M Beauty – our new beauty concept that will be launched in an inspiring shopping environment which will further strengthen our customer offering.

However, the retailer also warned that the strong dollar will result in gradually increased purchasing costs for the rest of the year.

H&M reported profit of 3.61 billion kronor, or $423.2 million, in the first quarter, up from 2.65 billion kronor last year.

Sales, including VAT, rose to 46.79 billion kronor, or $5.5 billion, from 37.52 billion kronor, $4.4 billion, last year.

“We have made a very good start to 2015 – in terms of both sales and profits,” Persson said. “Our attractive customer offering and strong expansion both through stores and online, as well as our work on continuous improvement, are among the reasons for increased market share gains and good profits.”

H&M operated a total of 3,551 stores around the world as of Feb. 28, up from 3,192 a year earlier.

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