April 18, 2017 / 6:38 AM / 9 months ago

H&M says March sales slightly below preliminary reading

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, Swedish H&M (HMb.ST), reported on Tuesday a 6 percent increase in local-currency March sales, just below a preliminary reading.

H&M had said on March 30 sales in the first 28 days of the month were up 7 percent. March is the first month of H&M’s fiscal second quarter.

Societe Generale analyst Anne Critchlow said the final reading was disappointing, as had been already the preliminary.

“It remains to be seen whether April sales will help the company to make up for a weak start to early spring,” she said.

“Easter was in April this year, which in theory should be helpful, but the weather was quite cold across northern and western Europe, which are important territories for H&M.”

    In February, H&M, which is hit by growing competition from other budget retailers and new online players, saw local-currency sales shrink for the first time in four years.

    Reporting by Anna Ringstrom and Rebecka Roos, editing by Terje Solsvik

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