Belfast Telegraph

H&M shares at 10-year low after cold snap hits sales

By Holly Williams

High street fashion giant H&M, which has nine stores in Northern Ireland, has seen its shares hit a 10-year low after first-quarter profits tumbled following the recent cold snap and moves to slash prices to shift stock.

The Swedish group posted a slump in pre-tax profits to 1.3bn Swedish krona (£112m) for the three months to February 28, down from 3.2bn Swedish krona (£275m) a year earlier. It said group sales dropped 2% and were unchanged in local currencies.

H&M said the cold weather had hit demand for spring lines, although it has also been knocked by widespread discounting to sell stock after seeing poor trading in its stores. This heavy price-cutting will continue into the second quarter, it warned.

In the UK, where it has 286 stores, sales fell 1% and were unchanged in local currencies.

The figures add to a bleak picture for UK retail after the collapses of Toys R Us and Maplin, and a raft of rescue deals.

H&M - the world's second-biggest clothes group after Zara owner Inditex - warned last month that "mistakes" had held it back amid the switch to online.

Belfast Telegraph

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