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H&M November Sales Beat Estimates After Margiela Line Debut

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Hennes & Mauritz AB, Europe’s second-largest clothing retailer, reported November sales that beat analysts’ estimates after a designer collection went on sale midway through the month.

H&M total sales rose 7 percent last month, the Stockholm-based company said in a statement today, exceeding the average estimate in an SME Direkt survey for 5.7 percent growth. Revenue slipped 1 percent in stores and operations open for at least a year, also beating an SME consensus for a 3.3 percent decline.

H&M started selling a Maison Martin Margiela collection of about 100 items in about 10 percent of its stores on Nov. 15, including a $40 bodysuit with the image of a black bra printed across the chest and a $349 duvet coat, to attract attention this holiday season.

H&M gained as much as 2.2 percent to 221.7 kronor in Stockholm trading and traded at that price as of 9:20 a.m. The shares are little changed this year compared with a 64 percent gain for larger competitor Inditex SA.

“There is the potential for improved sentiment toward the shares, which is very poor,” Richard Chamberlain, a London-based analyst at BofA Merrill Lynch, wrote in a report. Concern over faltering productivity and competition from the Primark discount fashion chain has been “overstated,” he said.

Revenue excluding value-added tax rose to 32.5 billion kronor ($4.9 billion) in the three months through November, H&M said today. Sales at stores open at least a year were unchanged in the quarter, the last of the retailer’s financial year.

The total number of outlets increased to 2,776 as of Nov. 30 compared with 2,472 last year. H&M has focused store expansion on Asia and the U.S. to help offset a slowdown in European consumer spending amid the region’s debt crisis.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julie Cruz in Frankfurt at jcruz6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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