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By
Reuters
Published
Oct 15, 2009
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H&M sales miss forecasts in September

By
Reuters
Published
Oct 15, 2009

STOCKHOLM, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz (HMb.ST) posted worse-than-expected sales in September as the economic downturn and warm weather kept consumers out of the shops.

H&M
H&M

Sales at established stores fell 8 percent year-on-year versus the mean forecast in a Reuters poll of 10 analysts for like-for-like sales to drop 7 percent.

The world's third-biggest clothing retailer by sales said in a statement on Thursday 15 October that turnover had been affected by the recession and unusually warm weather in September in most of its markets.

"Sales were satisfactory where the weather conditions were more normal," the company said.

Total sales were up 1 percent, undershooting a forecast for a 2 percent rise. H&M only gives round numbers for monthly sales and does not give currency figures.

H&M saw its shares hit last month after reporting a weaker-than-expected 11 percent fall in like-for-like sales in August, eclipsing unexpectedly strong quarterly profit unveiled the same day.

The company said unusually warm weather in parts of its key European market had been partly to blame then as well, but retail data has also inspired caution with German retail sales falling unexpectedly in August.

Even so, a low-cost focus and geographical spread has helped H&M and Spanish rival Inditex ITX.IC, Europe's biggest clothing retailer with its Zara chain, weather the market doldrums better than mid-market rivals such as Britain's Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) and Next (NXT.L).

(editing by John Stonestreet)

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