H&M sees annual profits boost

H&M Chief Executive Karl-Johan Persson during a news conference in Stockholm
H&M Chief Executive Karl-Johan Persson during a news conference in Stockholm
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Fashion giant H&M has boosted annual profits after opening more than one new store a day last year.

The Stockholm-based group plans to step up its expansion by adding 400 shops, having opened 379 sites last year in countries such as China and the United States.

The firm, which employs 132,000 staff across 3,511 stores in 55 markets, posted a 17 per cent rise in net profits to £1.6bn in the year to November 30 as it broadens its ranges and launched new online services.

It launched an H&M Sport range last year and opened online stores in four of its largest markets - France, Italy, Spain and China.

In the UK, sales jumped 16 per cent in sterling terms at its 253 stores, helped by the net addition of eight new shops during the period.

The business, which created 16,000 new jobs across the group last year, said it planned to open nine more online stores over the coming 12 months, including Switzerland, Portugal and Poland.

It also said it will launch a new make-up and haircare range, called H&M Beauty. This range, which replaces its own-brand cosmetics line, will launch in around 900 stores and 40 markets this year.

Chief executive, Karl-Johan Persson, said: “2014 has been a very good year for H&M.

“Well-received collections for all our brands and continued strong expansion, both in stores and online, have helped increase our market share and have further strengthened our position in the market.”

The group added that 2015 has got off to a good start with strong sales in December and January, but it warned that the increasingly strong US dollar would affect its sourcing costs.