Low-cost fashion brand H&M sees full-year sales up by 11%

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Swedish low-cost fashion brand Hennes & Mauritz AB says its net sales have increased by 11% to 232.7 billion kronor ($24.2 billion) last year “in an ever-changing fashion industry.”

The Stockholm-based group says its full year gross profit increased by 9% to 33.3 million kronor ($3.5 million).

The growth in sales was driven by both in-store and online sales, with a strong increase in online sales of 24% in kronor while sales in the fourth quarter “was good in many markets,” the group said.

It singled out India where sales hiked by 33%, Poland where it increased by 21%, Mexico with 18% and Russia with 12%. Sales in the U.S. and UK increased by 6% and 3%, respectively.

“This positive performance shows that we are on the right track,” said outgoing chief executive Karl-Johan Persson.

“In view of the ongoing transformation of fashion retail, we have been making significant and necessary investments for several years to secure the H&M group’s position and long-term development,” he added

The group also announced a change in its leadership with Helena Helmersson becoming the new CEO while Stefan Persson — the board chairman for the past 20 years — will step down as at the AGM and proposes that Persson, who had been chief executive for the past decade, succeed him.

Helmersson, born in 1973, joined H&M in 1997 and worked her way up. She most recent was chief operating officer with responsibility for expansion, logistics, production, and IT, among others.

Besides H&M, the group includes brands like COS, Monki, Weekday, Cheap Monday, & Other Stories, H&M HOME, ARKET and Afound. The group has 51 online markets and more than 5,000 stores in 74 markets including franchise markets and employs approximately 179,000 people.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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