Swedish fashion chain Hennes & Mauritz AB said Thursday it remains positive towards future expansion although the net profit had been effected by the global economic crisis.
"The expansion target for the full year has been revised upwards from a net contribution of 225 stores to approximately 240stores," said the group in a report for the first nine months of the financial year.
"During the fourth quarter the group plans to open approximately 150 stores and close 12. Most of the stores are planned for the United States, France, Germany, Britain and Italy," the report said, adding that H&M also plans to start on-line sales in Britain during the autumn of 2010.
The group said sales excluding VAT for the first nine months amounted to 73.3 billion kronor (about 10.3 billion U.S. dollars),an increase of 18 percent. The gross profit for the first nine months was 43.8 billion kronor (about 6.1 billion dollars), a rise of 15 percent. But in August 2009, sales including VAT in local currencies decreased by 3 percent compared to the same month of the previous year.
Weak sales were mainly caused by declining consumption amid lingering recession, tough competition and unusually warm weather in many parts of Europe at the end of the quarter, the report added.
Stockholm-based H&M, known for its fast fashion and clothing offered for women, men, teenagers and children, has more than 1,700 stores in 33 countries.