The H&M Group has recorded an unexpected shrink in sales in its last quarter, as weaker in-store turnover and fewer visitors at its core brand stores held down full-year gains.
The Swedish company – which owns fashion retailers Weekday, Cos, Arket, & Other Stories and the eponymous flagship H&M – posted a four per cent rise in global sales to 2.31 billion kr (£204 million) for the year.
However, for the period between September 1 and November 30, sales dropped four per cent year-on-year to 58.4 million kr (£5.2 million) – this lagged behind a Reuters forecast of a two per cent increase.
H&M said that sales – especially online – grew across brands during the quarter, it was the company’s flagship H&M brand’s bricks-and-mortar stores that dragged down the overall performance of the group.
The retailer cited “continued challenging market situation with reduced footfall to stores due to the ongoing shift in the industry” as the main reason.
The results have prompted H&M Group to speed up its transformation to a multichannel retailer and said there would be fewer store openings and more closures in the future.