H&M’s quarterly sales surge as Covid restrictions ease

H&M's quarterly sales surge as pandemic restrictions ease
“As more people are vaccinated, a number of markets have gradually allowed stores to reopen and the H&M group’s strong recovery continues,” : H&M
// H&M reports that in recent weeks sales have pushed past pre-pandemic levels
// The number of closed stores is declining from over a thousand to 140.

Quarterly turnover at H&M jumped from a year earlier as Covid pandemic restrictions were eased, although revenue remained well below 2019 levels.

The Swedish retail giant stated on Tuesday that net revenues increased by 62 per cent year on year to 46.5 billion crowns ($5.59 billion), or 75 per cent in local currencies.

The pandemic and government steps to curb it brought most of global trade and retail to a halt in the previous quarter, and about 4000 of H&M’s 5000 outlets were temporarily closed.

H&M’s net sales fell 19 per cent in the second quarter of 2019 compared to the same period the previous year.

“As more people are vaccinated a number of markets have gradually allowed stores to reopen and the H&M group’s strong recovery continues,” the fashion retailer said in a statement.

“Online sales have continued to develop very well, even as the stores have opened.

“This shows that customers appreciate the collections and being able to shop via their preferred channel.”

H&M said local-currency sales in the June 1-13 period were up 35 per cent on the year, and up two per cent from the corresponding period in 2019.

H&M flagged ongoing pandemic-related restrictions to store operations, with stores in Germany and France mostly closed throughout the period.

There were signs of improvement over the quarter, however, with the number of closed stores declining from over a thousand at the outset of the period down to 140.

Market leader Inditex, the owner of Zara, and smaller rival Next, have also reported recovering sales on the back of easing restrictions.

Inditex said last week that sales in May and early June were higher than two years earlier, as it reported forecast-beating February-April profit.

H&M is scheduled to publish its full second-quarter earnings report on July 1.

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