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H&M rolls out beauty range as UK sales up by 30%

High street fashion giant H&M has confirmed it will begin the roll-out of its new beauty range next month as it posted half-year figures showing a surge in UK sales.

The group, which has 253 stores across Britain, said its spring and summer ranges went down well with shoppers, helping UK sales leap 30% higher to 7.49bn Swedish crowns (£579m) in the six months to May 31.

H&M has around six stores in Northern Ireland, with three in Belfast, one in Newry, one in Craigavon and another in Ballymena.

Half-year UK sales rose 11% without a boost from currency exchange and the group said collections across all its brands were "well received".

H&M confirmed its new beauty offering will start to appear in shops from July 23 across 40 markets, including the UK, where it will be introduced in 14 stores.

The group aims to include the new range - including make-up, body care and hair care - in 900 stores worldwide as well as online.

Half-year figures showed an 18% rise in overall group pre-tax profits to 13.2bn Swedish crowns (£1bn), but growth slowed to 10% in the second quarter and H&M warned of a "very negative" hit from the strength of the US dollar.

A strong dollar impacts the firm by increasing its buying costs, which knocked the firm's second quarter performance and will continue to weigh on figures for the rest of the year, according to the group.

Group-wide sales rose 22%, or 12% on a constant currency basis, in the first half, following a rise of 20%, or 10% with foreign exchange stripped out, in the last three months.

H&M said this came despite unusually cold spring weather in May and tough sales growth comparisons from a year earlier.

In the UK, sales rose by 7% in the second quarter on a constant currency basis.

It said sales growth across the group had picked up so far in the third quarter, up 14% in local currencies for the first three weeks of June.

H&M continued to add more markets at the start of the year as it expands its international footprint, with aims to grow its global store numbers by around 400 this year.

The company has garnered a significant following for its rapid interpretation of fashion trends.