.Hennes & Mauritz AB reported a 15.3% decline in profit after tax
to $2.34 billion for the year ending November 30. Sales increased by 8%
in local currencies over the year. Comparable sales were down 1% over
the year. In Swedish kroner, sales were up 1.4% to reach $16.27 billion .
.CEO Karl-Johan Persson said that the retailer managed to gain market
share during what was “ one of the toughest years for a long time for
the fashion retail industry in many countries” .
.He called the situation in sourcing markets “challenging,” adding
that “cost inflation has been high resulting in increased purchasing
costs for the fashion retail industry. Despite increased purchasing
costs, we chose a strategy of strengthening our customer offering and
market position even further relative to competitors. The investments
have varied over time and have involved everything from even better
prices to even higher quality and more sustainable materials. We are
convinced that this will gradually become more evident to customers and
will strengthen H&M’s already strong market position even further.” .
.The retailer also announced plans to open some 275 stores in 2012,
with a focus on China, the US, and the UK. It will also enter Bulgaria,
Latvia, Malaysia and Thailand. It also plans to open its first Latin
American store with its first Mexico store .
.The retailer also said it will bring the COS brand to Hong Kong, Italy, Finland and Kuwait .
.During the fourth-quarter, profit after tax fell 2.3% to $785,000.
Sales including VAT increased by 6% in local currencies over the fourth
quarter. In Swedish kronor and excluding VAT, sales rose 4.17% to $4.57
billion. Comparable-store sales decreased 3% .