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STOCKHOLM, March 30 (Reuters) - Swedish fashion retailer H&M reported on Thursday a smaller than expected fall in pretax profit for its fiscal first quarter and said it would launch a new separate brand in the second half of the year.
Pretax profit in the December-February period fell to 3.21 billion crowns ($361.5 million) from a year-earlier 3.33 billion, against a mean forecast 2.87 billion seen in a Reuters poll of analysts.
H&M said local-currency sales increased 7 percent year-on-year in the March 1-28 period.
$1 = 8.8786 Swedish crowns Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; editing by Niklas Pollard