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H&M breezes through February with impressive ease

How good is H&M? While many of its rivals appear to be holding their own at best, the Swedish fashion giant Monday showed why it is such a powerful force in fashion retail with an impressive February display of revenue power.

Not only did sales jump 15% year-on-year last month, beating analysts’ estimate for a 12.7% rise, but they had tough comparisons, being up against a year-ago rise of 11%.

The company, which operated 3,551 global stores as of February 28, up from 3,192 a year ago, said quarterly sales for the December 1- February 28 period, meanwhile, leapt 25% to SEK40.28bn ($4.63bn). Including VAT, Q1 sales hit SEK46.79bn. Pause for breath.

There was no comment yet from the always-media-shy CEO Karl-Johan Persson. So watch this space for an update.

But not everyone was bowled over as Exane BNP Paribas wrote Monday: “While top-line momentum continues to impress, especially when boosted by currency translation, [we reiterate our] underperform rating due to H&M’s mature sourcing model, which peers are replicating, the emerging threat from online, and the headwind to gross margins posed by a strengthening USD and a weakening euro”.

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