H&M March sales disappoint as month's final days fail to boost turnover

Analysts, investors and the company itself were disappointed on Tuesday morning as H&M announced its March sales figures. The 6% sales rise in local currencies proved to be below the 7% preliminary figure (covering the month’s first 28 days) that the world's second-largest fashion retailer had announced back on March 30.


March is the first month of Q2 for the Swedish retail giant and while 6% might seem like good progress for some, for H&M it was less than impressive, especially after analysts had already been lukewarm about the earlier-announced 7% figure.

It was no surprise therefore that the firm’s shares dipped slightly on Tuesday morning as investors digested the news.

So what went wrong in March? It’s hard to say as H&M give very little detail in its sales reports but it’s clear that the last three days of the month didn’t deliver any kind of sales boost.

Which raises the question of whether April will be any better. With Easter falling later this year, April could benefit from the Easter feel good effect, although analysts did point out that April weather hasn’t been as spring-like as fashion retailers would hope in some of H&M’s core markets in Northern Europe.

Nevertheless, the March result was at least a reversal of February, when sales in local currencies fell for the first time in four years.

The company now needs to make the most of the improving weather conditions, maximising opportunities around key seasonal shopping drivers like festival, weddings and vacations. It also needs to maximise the feelgood effect of its sustainability initiatives, especially with the launch of its new Conscious Exclusive collection happening later this week.

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