Friday, October 16, 2009

H&M: Weather to blame

A snippet on top of page B1 in todays's Wall Street Journal has this headline: H&M says weather caused poor sales. Say wha?

Worse-than-expected September sales at Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB, which operates the cheap-and-chic H&M chain, shows increasing competitive pressure from two sides: even cheaper discount stores and mid-market retailers dropping prices.

Competition, price pressure.

H&M, the world's third-largest clothing retailer by sales after Gap Inc. and Inditex SA of Spain, said sales in stores open for at least a year fell 8% in September from the same month last year. Analysts had forecast a decline of only 7%.

As a reason for the poor performance, the company cited "the recession and unusually warm weather in September in most of H&M's markets," which limited shoppers' interest in the fake fur vests and knee-high boots of H&M's fall collection.

Naughty weather.

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