Out of tune: H&M hit by an unwelcome combination

PROFITS at Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), the world’s second-largest clothing retailer behind Zara-owner Inditex, have been dented by poor weather, grim economic conditions and foreign currency exchange rates.

The Swedish retailer, which has teamed up with American singer Lana Del Rey to promote its autumn ranges, yesterday delayed the launch of its online operations in the United States from this autumn until the middle of next year.

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But the firm pledged to press ahead with plans for a higher-priced range in its shops after third-quarter profits only managed to edge ahead to 4.9 billion Swedish krona (£460 million) in the three months to 31 August from SKr4.85bn a year earlier, missing analysts’ forecasts for a SKr5.4bn profits haul.

Espirito Santo analyst Caroline Gulliver said: “The margin benefits H&M has achieved in the past decade, from shifting sourcing to lower cost countries, have now come to an end.”