Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), a Sweden-based fashion retailer, plans to grow its number of shops by 10-15% per year, as it reported an increase in first quarter net profit.
The clothing chain said its collections have been received well, enabling it to boost its market share in a challenging fashion retail market.
H&M chief executive Karl-Johan Persson said the company plans to open a further 275 net stores in fiscal 2012, ending 30 November, having opened 266 last year.
China, the US and the UK are expected to be the largest expansion markets for the company in 2012, in addition to expansion opportunities in markets such as Germany, France and Italy.
In 2012, the retailer plans to add five new markets: Bulgaria, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico and, via franchise, Thailand.
H&M opened its first Bulgaria store in Sofia in March and plans to enter in Indonesian market in 2013, in addition to starting online sales in the US in autumn this year.
Next year, the company plans to open a new independent chain of stores, as a separate brand, which will complement H&M and the group’s other brands.
In the three months period ended 29 February, net sales grew SEK27.83bn ($4.17bn) from SEK24.5bn ($3.67bn) in the corresponding period a year ago.
The group’s sales, including VAT, jumped 13% in local currencies in the first quarter, while sales in comparable units rose 3%.
Gross profit in the reporting period grew SEK15.53bn ($2.33bn) from SEK14.17bn ($2.12bn), while operating profit increased SEK3.52bn ($528.54m) from SEK3.4bn ($510.52m).
During the three months period, the Stockholm-based group opened 29 stores and closed 10 stores.
As of 29 February 2012, H&M had 2,491 stores, comprising 69 franchise stores, 46 COS stores, 53 Monki stores, 19 Weekday stores and 5 Cheap Monday stores.
Image: H&M opened its first Bulgaria store in Sofia in March and plans to enter in Indonesian market in 2013, in addition to starting online sales in the US in autumn this year. Photo: H&M