Hennes & Mauritz, the world's second-biggest fashion retailer, reports a better than expected 15 percent sales rise in February. As Grace Pascoe reports the fifth straight month of double-digit growth gave shares a boost.
Sales soar at Swedish H&M. The budget fashion retailer has grown in double digits for five months in a row. February saw a better than expected 15 percent sales rise. With shares up 2 percent, outperforming the European retail sector. James Bevan of CCLA thinks confidence may be returning to Europe. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) CCLA, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, JAMES BEVAN, SAYING: "The H&M story had three key component parts. First, decent like for like sales, secondly a significant increase in floor space and thirdly positive gains from currencies overall for the portfolio. I think we will see more of that sort of trend emerge. Not least because confidence in Europe will begin to reappear." 400 new stores are in the pipeline. And H&M is also pumping money into ecommerce and new concepts such as sportswear and designer collections. The results confirm consumer confidence is picking up and suggest Europe's economy is turning a corner. All eyes now turn to H&M's larger rival - Inditex, owner of Zara and other key fashion brands like Massimo Dutti. Europe's largest fashion retailer reports its full year results later this week.