May 16, 2011
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H&M same-store sales climb 11 percent, beating forecasts

May 16, 2011

May 16 - Warm weather in key European markets and the Easter holiday helped Swedish budget fashion chain Hennes & Mauritz AB post its biggest rise in sales in eight months in April.

H&M store in Dam Square, Amsterdam

The group posted an 11 percent year-on-year rise in sales at established stores in local currencies, beating a mean forecast in a Reuters poll for 9 percent.

April had more traditionally retail-friendly days this year than last, while warmer weather in many European centers encouraged more shoppers to hit the shops and renew their spring wardrobes.

The world No. 2 clothes retailer said total sales, which include stores opened in the past year, surged 21 percent, topping analysts' average forecast for 17 percent. It was the biggest rise in sales since August last year when total sales rose 24 percent.

U.S. retailers have warned of rising costs and cautious consumers even as the late Easter boosted sales of clothing and other holiday-related items in April, also helping many beat sales expectations.

European retailers are also cautious, with consumer confidence still fragile amid government austerity measures and stubbornly high unemployment.

H&M, the world's second-biggest clothes retailer by sales after Spanish rival Inditex, owner of the Zara brand, does not release absolute sales figures on a monthly basis and does not comment on the growth data.

(Reporting by Mia Shanley and Niklas Pollard; Editing by David Holmes)

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