H&M model Jessica Hart as part of H&M’s blog series.

H&M’s latest sales report has come out for the first half of the year, with amazing results. According to Karl-Johan Persson, CEO, “The strong sales development has continued for all our brands with a sales increase in SEK of 23 percent excluding VAT during the first half-year. Including VAT, this means that sales in the first half amounted to more than SEK 100 billion.

Looking specifically at the second quarter, i.e. March to May, sales development was again strong – particularly if we consider the more challenging conditions we faced such as strong comparables from last year, unusually cold spring weather in many of our important European markets and negative calendar effects.

Profits have also developed well in the first half-year, with an increase of 19%- this despite the fact that the increasingly strong US dollar has resulted in increased purchasing costs and that we have continued to increase our long-term investments compared to last year. Although these long-term investments currently involve costs, we see them as necessary in order to build an even stronger H&M. Among other things, these investments enable us to be a natural part of our customers’ increasingly digital world, where the boundary between shopping online and in physical stores is becoming more and more seamless. Our goal is to offer a customer experience in which online and stores are closely interwoven, which will strengthen our customer offering further.

In March and April we also opened eight new H&M online markets – Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary and Belgium – which were all very well received. With the opening of H&M shop online in Switzerland in the autumn, H&M will have 22 online markets.

In parallel with our online expansion, we are continuing to open stores at a fast pace. We are aiming to open approximately 400 new stores net this year. We have had many successful openings so far this year. For example, the opening in Lima, Peru, is one of our strongest ever when it comes to sales. Other places where we have also had great store openings include New York’s Herald Square – we opened the group’s largest store in terms of floor space here in May – and Macau, where we opened in June. Later in the second half of the year we are looking forward to opening in two interesting and large markets – India and South Africa, where we will open in New Delhi and Cape Town.

So we have a busy autumn ahead of us, as we will also launch our latest initiative, H&M Beauty. This will gradually be rolled out in 900 stores in 40 markets as well as online, starting from July. H&M Beauty, which offers a broad range of make-up, body care and hair care, will also include two subsidiary collections: a premium beauty line and a conscious range of Ecocert-approved sustainable products. H&M Beauty is one example of all the investments we are making in order to broaden H&M’s product range even further.

Today we have a strong customer offering with all our brands – H&M, COS, & Other Stories, Weekday, Monki and Cheap Monday, all of which have their own identities which complement each other well. This means that the H&M group can offer a variety of different styles and trends at different price points. Together our brands share a passion for fashion and our drive to offer customers fashion in a sustainable way. Our sustainability work is a very important part of our customer offering, and has been so for many years. Because our sustainability work genuinely permeates our daily work and the decisions we make, it is only natural that sustainability is now also part of H&M’s business idea: fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way.”

Recap Highlights:
•    Well-received collections for all brands in the H&M group resulted in good sales and increased market share. The H&M group’s sales excluding VAT increased by 23 percent to SEK 86,143 m (69,970) during the first six months of the financial year. In local currencies the increase was 12 percent.
•    Profit after financial items amounted to SEK 13,158 m (11,129), an increase of 18 percent. The group’s profit after tax increased to SEK 10,066 m (8,458), corresponding to SEK 6.08 (5.11) per share, an increase of 19 percent.
Second quarter (1 March 2015 — 31 May 2015)
•    The H&M group’s sales in SEK excluding VAT increased by 21 percent to SEK 45,867 m (37,827) during the second quarter. In local currencies the increase was 10 percent. The quarter has been negatively affected by calendar effects of approximately 2 percentage points.
•    Gross profit amounted to SEK 27,245 m (23,010), an increase of 18 percent. This corresponds to a gross margin of 59.4 percent (60.8).
•    Profit after financial items amounted to SEK 8,435 m (7,643), an increase of 10 percent. The group’s profit after tax increased to SEK 6,453 m (5,809), corresponding to SEK 3.90 (3.51) per share, an increase of 11 percent.
•    H&M’s first store in Lima, Peru, was very well received on its opening at the beginning of May.
•    H&M’s eight new online markets; Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary and Belgium – were all very well received on opening in March and April.
•    Sales in the period 1 June – 23 June 2015 increased by 14 percent in local currencies compared to the same period last year.
•    H&M’s first store in Macau was very well received on its opening in June.The H&M group plans a net addition of around 400 new stores for the financial year 2014/2015. In total, H&M will expand its retail stores into five new markets in 2015, Taiwan, Peru, Macau, South Africa and India.
•    Starting from July 2015, H&M Beauty will gradually be launched in 900 H&M stores in 40 markets as well as online.