H&M Sales Beat Estimates on Weather, Calendar Effects

Hennes & Mauritz AB reported November sales that beat estimates after a fashion line designed by Isabel Marant boosted revenue at Europe’s second-biggest clothing retailer.

Sales at stores and operations open at least a year rose 10 percent from a year earlier, the Stockholm-based company said today, topping the 4 percent gain anticipated in a survey of analysts by SME Direkt. The growth was the strongest in 20 months, sending the stock up the most since September.

Shoppers queued overnight outside H&M stores to get first pick of clothes designed by French fashion house Isabel Marant, which went on sale in around 250 outlets and online Nov. 14.

The collection “may also have boosted sentiment towards the overall offer,” Richard Chamberlain, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said in a note to clients. “H&M remains one of our top picks in general retail.”

The shares rose as much as 2.9 percent to 286.50 kronor in Stockholm, the steepest intraday gain since Sept. 26. They were up 2.3 percent at 284.90 kronor at 10:20 a.m. local time.

Total sales advanced 21 percent last month, compared with an estimated 14 percent increase in the SME survey. A extra Saturday in the month boosted growth by about 3 percentage points, while favorable weather also provided a boost, H&M said.

Sales, excluding value-added tax, were 36.5 billion kronor ($5.6 billion) in the three months ended Nov. 30. That was higher than the average estimate of 36.1 billion kronor in a Bloomberg survey. The company had 3,132 stores at the end of November, up from 2,776 a year ago.

(Updates with analyst comment in fourth paragraph.)
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