H&M puts Ralf Wein in charge of France
There is a new boss at H&M France. Thomas Lourenço, who has been the Swedish fast-fashion retailer's head of France for 10 years, has stepped down from the post to “devote himself to personal projects,” as the group’s communication department has indicated. He is replaced by Ralf Wein, a senior executive whose career at H&M began in 1991.
Wein has worked in many capacities for the fast-fashion group, notably as head of various European countries: Greece in 2010, Bulgaria in 2012, East Europe (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania) from 2012 to 2016. Since 2016, he has been in charge of Spain and Portugal.
In the 2018 financial year, the H&M group, which owns Cos, Monki, & Other Stories, Arket, Weekday and Afound, generated revenue of SEK210.4 billion (€20.3 billion), equivalent to a 5% rise (+3% in local currency), though the group's net income fell by 22%. In France, where, as of December 31 last year, the group operated 237 stores, sales fell by 6%, down to SEK11.31 billion (€1.09 billion).
On Friday, the fast-fashion giant reported a sales increase of 10% (+4% in local currency) for the first quarter of the 2019 financial year to February 28, reaching SEK51 billion (€4.89 billion). H&M's gross margin hit the symbolic threshold of 50% (+0.1 points), exceeding analysts’ expectations, while net income shrank by 41%, down to SEK803 million (€77 million).
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