Cold spring weather chills H&M profits
Fashion retailer H&M has blamed cold weather for a worse-than-expected set of results in the second quarter.
Pre-tax profits in the period fell 17% to 7 billion Swedish krona (£576 million) as the firm was stung by having to discount items that did not sell during a soggy March and April and fluctuations in the dollar.
The Swedish firm said the results were "significantly below" plan, although better sales in May helped offset the slump.
Chief executive Karl-Johan Persson admitted that it had been a "challenging half-year" for fashion retail, adding: "The sales increase in March and April was significantly below our plan. These two months were negatively affected by cold spring weather in many of our markets.
"The fact that the sales increase in the quarter was below plan naturally also had an impact on profits. It has been a challenging half-year for fashion retail in many markets, but we have great confidence going forward."
Profits for the first half of the year also fell, from 13.1 billion Swedish krona (£1 billion) to 10.3 Swedish krona (£848 million).
H&M, which has 4,077 stores worldwide, said overall sales in its second quarter were up 5% while in May they rose 9%.
Sales rose 1% in the UK in the first half of the year but flatlined in Germany, H&M's biggest market.