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Swedish clothing company Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) has reported that its net sales grew by 23% to Skr49.16bn ($5.2bn) in the first quarter (Q1) of the fiscal year 2022 (FY22).

In local currencies, the company’s net sales rose by 18% compared with the corresponding period of last year.

Between 1 December and 28 February, H&M’s operating profit grew to Skr458m, which corresponds to an operating margin of 0.9%.

The retailer’s gross profit increased to Skr24.2bn, corresponding to a gross margin of 49.3%.

In addition, its profit after tax in the quarter was Skr217m.

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By GlobalData

H&M CEO Helena Helmersson said: “Having ended last year with sales back at the same level as before the pandemic and in a strong financial position, we started the new year with increased initiatives to create an even better foundation for long-term growth.

“The initiatives mainly involve continuing to develop the customer experience by, for example, further broadening the assortment and integrating the sales channels, and by continuing to invest in infrastructure such as tech and the supply chain, but also in renewable energy and sustainable materials.”

H&M noted that it has suspended all sales in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine due to the ongoing conflict in the region.

This decision has affected 185 of the company’s stores, as well as its online business in Russia.

Helmersson added: “We closed our stores in Ukraine for the safety of our colleagues. Since the beginning of March all sales have also been paused in Russia and Belarus.

“The H&M group cares about all our colleagues and stands with all those around the world who are calling for peace.”

Despite the store closures, H&M’s net sales increased by 6% in local currencies from 1 March to 28 March compared with the same period of last year.

Last month, the retailer continued its geographical expansion by opening the first H&M store in Cambodia via franchise.