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H&M posts sales boost, plans 400 stores


A bigger push to sell its offerings online helped drive record sales in 2014 for Swedish retailer Hennes & Mauritz, as well as prompt expansion plans for the retailer.

The Stockholm-based retailer said net profit rose 17% to $760 million in 2014, ahead of analysts’ forecasts. Same store sales increased 26% in 2014, the retailer reported.

H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson said: “While we are continuing our long-term investments, at the same time we can see our investments in areas such as online starting to bear fruit. It will be interesting to see how our competitors handle the situation.” In 2014 the company invested in expanding online sales. It opened its online store to customers in France, Italy, Spain and China. "These openings, combined with further improvements in our online store, have naturally contributed to the year's good sales development," Persson said.

The company plans to roll out online stores in nine more countries in 2015: Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Switzerland. H&M also said it would keep up its rate of expansion and plans to open 400 new stores this year, mostly in China and in the U.S.

It plans to open about as many stores in the U.S. this year as it did in 2014, when it opened 58—including its biggest store in the world, a 57,000-square-feet flagship outlet at Fifth Avenue and 48th Street in Manhattan. H&M plans to open more stores in Russia this year and says that it captured market share in the country in 2014.

The maker of low-price and trendy apparel said it would also launch a new store concept this year, H&M Beauty. Makeup, body-care and hair-care products will be sold in 900 stores as well as online, and will replace H&M’s current own-brand cosmetics.

H&M now has more than 3,500 stores worldwide, and 132,000 employees.

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