Dec 16, 2013
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Colder weather gives H&M sales a big boost in November

Dec 16, 2013

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Swedish budget fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz said on Monday sales in stores open at least a year rose more than three times market expectations in November as cold weather encouraged sales of winter clothing.

November sales jumped 10 percent, overshooting a mean forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts for a 3 percent rise in local currencies.

H&M performed well throughout the global downturn, although it was harder hit by the European debt crisis than its bigger rival, Zara-owner Inditex, which sells more clothes in emerging markets.

Retailers are hoping for stronger sales in what tends to be their most important quarter, with consumers in Europe hitting the shops as confidence in the economy returns.

Inditex, the world's largest clothing retailer, said last week sales growth accelerated to 10 percent in the first six weeks of the fourth quarter - the run-up to the holiday season - from 8 percent in the first nine months.

H&M's total sales in November - the final month of its fiscal fourth quarter - were up 21 percent in local currencies, well above a forecast of 13 percent.

Net quarterly sales, excluding sales tax, totalled 36.5 billion Swedish crowns (3.3 billion pounds), above a forecast of 36.1 billion and a year-earlier 32.5 billion.

A drop in temperatures in Europe towards the end of the month had led increased demand for winter clothes, said one analyst who declined to be named.

European retailers are facing greater competition, with British discount clothing shop Primark expanding rapidly on the European continent next year and as shoppers buy more fashion online from the likes of ASOS in Britain and German fashion retailer Zalando.

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