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H&M Shares Jump to Record High as August Sales Beat Estimates

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Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Hennes & Mauritz AB, Europe’s second-biggest retailer, reported monthly sales that beat analysts’ estimates, sending its shares to a record high.

Revenue at stores and operations open at least a year rose 4 percent in August compared with the same month last year, the Stockholm-based company said today. The average estimate in a SME Direkt survey was for a 2.5 percent increase.

“It will be interesting to see whether this is rebate-driven, affecting the gross margin,” said Soeren Loentoft Hansen, an analyst at Sydbank A/S in Denmark. “We have seen very good and warm weather also in August, and normally you would not expect to sell that much summer clothes in that month as consumers are preparing for the fall.”

H&M gained as much as 5.4 percent to 262.70 Swedish kronor in Stockholm trading. The shares were up 3.8 percent at 258.80 kronor as of 9:20 a.m.

Total sales in August climbed 14 percent, the retailer said, beating estimates for 12.6 percent growth.

H&M also said sales, excluding value-added tax, amounted to 32 billion kronor ($4.91 billion) in the three months ended Aug. 31. That compared with an average estimate of 31.6 billion kronor in a Bloomberg survey of analysts.

The company had 2,964 stores at the end of August, up from 2,629 a year earlier. It has said it plans to add a net 350 new stores this year.

H&M is due to report third-quarter earnings Sept. 26.

To contact the reporter on this story: Katarina Gustafsson in Stockholm at kgustafsson@bloomberg.net

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

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