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H&M continues its positive growth story in 2017

The H&M group continued to grow globally in 2017. Sales including VAT increased by 4 per cent to SEK 2,31,771 m in the financial year. Sales increased by 3 per cent in local currencies. Sales excluding VAT amounted to SEK 200,004 million. Gross profit increased to SEK 1,08,090 million. This corresponds to a gross margin of 54.0 per cent. Profit after financial items amounted to SEK 20,809 million. The group’s profit after tax amounted to SEK 16,184 million, corresponding to SEK 9.78 per share.

A total of 479 stores were opened and 91 stores were closed, resulting in a total net addition of 388 new stores. During the year, eight new H&M online markets and five new H&M store markets were opened. At the end of the financial year the H&M group had 69 sales markets of which 43 were online.

Speaking on accelerating their transformation in a rapidly changing industry Karl-Johan Persson, CEO said, they have three main action areas:

• Be restless around the core: We must always have the best across product assortment and mix, look, value for money and sustainability. The best customer offering always wins. Our physical stores must offer a more inspiring and convenient customer experience and be more customised to local needs. The digital store is a process that should never settle. The offering needs to be constantly improved and broadened to ensure it maximises engagement and sales. We are integrating our physical and digital stores to offer our customers a great shopping experience with services ranging from Click and Collect to Scan and Buy and online returns in store.

• Invest in the enablers – new technology and ways of working. We will invest even more in analytics and intelligence. We see huge potential across the board from assortment planning to supply chain and sales. We will continue to invest in our tech foundation. This includes: building scalable, robust platforms; faster development of consumer-facing apps; and broadening our use of technologies like Cloud, RFID and 3D.

• Drive growth – both traditional and new. Our expansion across digital will accelerate. We will be broadening our assortments, rolling out digital to new markets and linking to new platforms, like Tmall for mainland China. We will continue to open new stores – there is still significant growth capacity in physical stores in many regions and countries. We will constantly optimise and refine our physical store portfolio. There is still potential for strong growth in some regions whereas in others we can get a better balance by reducing store space. We constantly work on new ideas and innovations that will drive us forward – and there are many in our pipeline for 2018 and the years to come.