H&M’s sales in local currencies back at pre-pandemic level

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FILE PHOTO: A view shows an H&M warehouse at Magna Park in Milton Keynes

STOCKHOLM -H&M, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, said on Wednesday its sales measured in local currencies in the September to November period matched levels achieved before the pandemic drove down demand.

Net sales were up 8% year on year at 56.8 billion crowns ($6.22 billion) in the period, H&M’s fiscal fourth quarter, matching the mean forecast in a Refinitiv poll of analysts.

Measured in local currencies, sales were up 11%.

“Despite continued restrictions and the negative consequences of the pandemic, the H&M group’s sales in local currencies were back at the same level as in the fourth quarter of 2019,” the company said in a statement.

“Customers are showing that they appreciate the collections and being able to shop where, when and how they choose,” it said.

Net sales in Swedish crowns still lagged pre-pandemic levels. Two years earlier, they stood at 61.7 billion crowns.

At the end of November, around 115 H&M stores were temporarily closed due to restrictions, mainly in Austria and Slovakia. At the start of the quarter, about 100 had been closed, mainly in southeast Asia.

H&M warned on Sept. 30 that sales growth in September was held back by global supply chain disruptions but did not mention the issue in Wednesday’s statement.

In the May-July period, its sales jumped from a year earlier as the effects of the pandemic waned but they stayed below pre-pandemic levels. Profits returned to above pre-pandemic levels.’

H&M is due to publish its full fourth-quarter earnings report on Jan. 28.

H&M’s biggest rival Inditex, the owner of Zara, reported on Wednesday record quarterly sales in the three months through October, rising above pre-pandemic levels for a second straight quarter.

($1 = 9.1339 Swedish crowns)

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Niklas Pollard and Edmund Blair)