H&M April Sales Growth Misses Estimates on Cold Weather Blow

Hennes & Mauritz AB, Europe’s second-largest clothing retailer, reported growth in monthly revenue that missed estimates as a cold start to April weighed on sales of spring fashions.

Revenue at stores and operations open at least a year rose 1 percent compared with a year earlier, the Stockholm-based company said in a statement today, less than the 4.2 percent average estimate in a SME Direkt survey. Total sales advanced 11 percent, missing a predicted 13 percent increase.

Unseasonably cold weather in the early weeks of April hurt business, mostly in Europe, H&M said. Still, the gain in same-store sales ended a sequence of six straight monthly declines.

“I guess I and the market had underestimated the effect of the cold weather,” said Soeren Loentoft Hansen, an analyst at Sydbank A/S. “And easy comparables, due to calendar effects, couldn’t compensate for this very cold month.”

H&M fell 1.2 percent to 231.80 kronor as of 9:04 a.m. in Stockholm trading, trimming this year’s gain to 3.3 percent.

H&M, which this week became the first retailer to sign an agreement enhancing fire and building safety in Bangladesh where it is one of the biggest buyers of clothing, said it had 2,881 stores at the end of April, up from 2,549 a year ago. It plans to open 350 this year.

(Updates with analyst comment in fifth paragraph and detail in sixth paragraph.)
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