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H&M shares tumble on surprise quarterly sales drop

15 December 2017

In response to the shift online, the company has chose to close more stores and open fewer new ones.

In its fourth-quarter sales update today (15 December), the Swedish fashion group said during the period 1 September to 30 November, sales including Value-Added Tax amounted to SEK58.45m (US$6.9m), compared to SEK61.01m a year ago.

On an annual basis, sales excluding Value-Added Tax grew 3% to 199.9 billion Swedish krona (£17.7 billion) for the financial year.

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The H&M Group has recorded an unexpected shrink in sales in its last quarter, as weaker in-store turnover and fewer visitors at its core brand stores held down full-year gains. In local currencies, sales decreased by 2 percent.

Swedish clothing giant Hennes & Mauritz on Friday said sales fell below expectations in the fourth quarter and it would close more stores as customers increasingly prefer to shop online.

The retailer cited "continued challenging market situation with reduced footfall to stores due to the ongoing shift in the industry" as the main reason.

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Shares in United Kingdom retailers Next Plc (LON:NXT) and Marks & Spencer PLC (LON:MKS) slumped after fourth quarter results from H&M highlighted the struggles bricks-and-mortar stores are facing. "We see great potential for substantial future growth and Tmall will be an important part of this".

Chief executive Karl-Johan Persson said: "In order to respond even quicker to customers' fast-changing behaviour the company's ongoing transformation journey is being accelerated".

Fashion chain H&M's sales fell unexpectedly in the past three months as it attracted fewer shoppers to its stores, sending its shares plummeting and underlining its struggle to adapt to a shift to online retail.

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H&M shares tumble on surprise quarterly sales drop