New collection lifts H&M sales

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Fashion chain H&M has reported its strongest underlying sales growth since September in a further sign of a revival on the high street.

The Swedish group, which has been building its presence in the UK, said the solid showing in June had been helped by buoyant demand for new collections.

Sales at outlets open for a year or more were up by 3 per cent in local currencies, compared with a year earlier, although the result was just shy of analysts’ estimates. Total local-currency sales were up 13 per cent.

The firm had already unveiled 14 per cent growth in the first 17 days of June, indicating a healthy start to its latest quarter after consumer gloom and bad weather in its main market, Europe, led to more markdowns than planned.

Chief executive Karl-Johan Persson said at the time that new lines, more so than marked-down older items, had sold surprisingly well. But he cautioned this could be down to pent-up demand after chilly weather held back spring shopping.

H&M – short for Hennes & Mauritz – ranks as the world’s second-biggest clothing retailer after Zara-owner Inditex.