H&M sales in Croatia rise 4% in FY 2016

For years, H&M and its bigger European rival Inditex SA raced each other around the world opening stores that sell so-called fast fashion-items that can be designed, made and rolled out to stores quickly to account for fast-changing fashions and trends.

Additionally, the company says it will aim to increase sales in its current operations by 10% to 15% both online and in-store.

The company said, profits during the year were negatively affected by increased mark-downs but also by higher purchasing costs from the strengthened USA dollar. Converted into SEK, sales including Value-Added Tax increased by 8 percent to 61,098 million Swedish krona (6,922 million dollars). He said that the geopolitical events such as terror attacks and the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union (Brexit) have taken a toll in many markets.

The shift to compete online for H & M comes after management recognized strong competition from online retailers in the U.S., Europe, and China including Amazon, Zalandro, and Alibaba.

H&M explained that its annual net profit dropped by 11 percent due to higher purchasing costs from the rising dollar.

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Measured in local currencies, sales jumped by seven percent to 223 billion kronor ($25 billion) in 2015/2016. Pretax earnings rose to 7.41 billion kronor ($839 million) in the three months through November, exceeding the average 7.04 billion-kronor estimate of analysts. It posted revenues of 222.9 Billion Krona ($26.7 Billion) up 6% from the previous year.

The chain still plans to open approximately 430 new stores this year, a move that will help it enter five new bricks-and-mortar markets - Kazakhstan, Colombia, Iceland, Vietnam and Georgia - and six new H&M online markets - Turkey, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Malaysia. Its total sales went up by 6% a year ago, reaching SEK 223 billion (EUR 23.6 billion). It is now present in 64 markets of which 35 offer e-commerce.

This was particularly visible in France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy as well as in the USA and in China.

Adding to the pain, Persson said, were geopolitical events, such as terror attacks and the Britain's vote previous year to leave the European Union.

  • Ronnie Bowen