Stockholm—H&M, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, reported today a better than expected first quarter pretax profit. The fast fashion retailer also said its March sales were up 9% so far.
For the three months ending Feb. 28, HM posted 4.7 billion Swedish crowns (about $551 million) from a year-earlier 3.49 billion. The mean forecast of analysts had been for a profit of 4.4 billion. The net profit was up from 2.6 billion kronor in the same three months a year earlier.
Net sales were up 25% to 40.2 billion kronor, from 32.1 billion kronor a year earlier.
CEO Karl-Johan Persson said the “very good start to 2015” was boosted by good collections and strong expansion of its online services and new stores, including in a new market Taiwan.
But as many European companies have said their results will be negatively impacted in the future due to currency fluctuations.
H&M said it plans to complete a two-year plan to open 400 new stores by the end of this year and enter new online markets in Portugal, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Belgium. Other stores are planned in new markets such as Peru, Macau, South Africa and India by year-end.
Persson said that a highlight of this year will be the opening of H&M’s flagship store on Herald Square in New York, which will be one of the group’s largest stores in the United States, the retailer’ssecond largest market after Germany.