Unfashionably hot August stifles H&M sales in Europe

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The Independent Online

Sales have slipped at the fashion retailer H&M as Europe's August heatwave hit autumn clothes.

The world's second-largest fashion chain saw its shares, which are traded in Stockholm, drop by 1.6 per cent on the unexpected news, which came ahead of the company's quarterly profit statement later this month.

Comparable sales for August had been expected to show a 1 per cent climb but actually showed a disappointing decline of 4 per cent, the chain revealed yesterday.

Turnover in the three months to the end of August for the Swedish-owned company grew 7 per cent from the previous year to 28.8bn krona (£2.69bn), below expectations for a 9 per cent climb.

H&M said in a statement: "It was primarily the extreme heatwave in a number of European markets in August that affected sales negatively." Germany, H&M's biggest market, had its 12th-warmest August since 1891 while Spain and France also experienced higher-than-normal temperatures.

The retailer has more than 2,600 stores in 44 countries across Europe, Asia and North America. In the past year it has focused on expansion in Asia and the US to counter the consumer spending slowdown in Europe.