Apr 15, 2011
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H&M same-store sales fall in March

Apr 15, 2011

April 15 - Swedish fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz said on Friday that sales at its established stores fell 5 percent in March from a year earlier, amid weak consumer confidence in its key European markets.

H&M in San Francisco

The outcome was in line with with a mean forecast for a 5.1 percent decline in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Consumer confidence in Europe, which is where H&M generates the bulk of revenues, is fragile amid government austerity measures and stubbornly high unemployment despite growing signs of global economic recovery.

H&M, which competes for the title of top global clothing retailer with Spain's Inditex, said total sales, which includes newly opened stores, rose 2 percent in the month.

The company had said in its first-quarter report that sales in the March 1-29 period had risen 3 percent.

H&M does not release absolute sales figures, only the percentage change in local currencies, and does not comment on the figures.

The company late last month posted weaker-than-expected first-quarter earnings and sales and said it had adopted a strategy to hold prices unchanged, despite increasing pressure from rising cotton costs and currency swings.

(Editing by Erica Billingham)

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