H&M June sales rise but sales space expands faster

It was something of a historic announcement for H&M Monday as the Swedish fashion retail giant issued its final monthly sales report. And the figure? Sales including VAT were up 7% year-on-year in local currencies during June. Converted into Swedish Kronor, the figure looked better with a 10% increase.


That may not have been as good a result as it seemed at first sight as the company had over 9% more stores in operation during June compared to a year ago (4,517 stores, up fro 4,095).

But the company didn’t give any hints about exactly how comparable sales fared and that was no surprise as it is traditionally quiet tight-lipped, even when it releases its annual results.

However, it did say that it feels monthly sales reports are not the way forward and are “far too short a period over which to assess how sales are developing.” In fact, it said, “a single month’s sales can actually be misleading, since calendar and weather effects  among other things may significantly affect the outcome.”

That reflects a general feeling across the fashion retail sector as fewer and fewer chains globally issue monthly figures. For instance, the former deluge of sales numbers that used to characterise ‘same-store sales day’ in the US (usually the first Thursday in the month) has now become a trickle. And in Britain, monthly reports are a rarity, although John Lewis continues to buck the trend with its weekly reports.

So what will H&M do instead? As mentioned, those monthly reports are being consigned to history and it is switching to Capital Markets Days “during which more in-depth information about the business will be given”.

It has also decided, in consultation with its large institutional shareholders, to publish the group’s sales development quarterly instead of monthly.

So how will it work? As previously, sales for the quarter will be published ahead of each interim report as the percentage change in local currencies and in Swedish kronor, as well as in absolute figures in Swedish kronor, both including and excluding VAT.

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