Swedish garment giant H & M reports 16 percent profit increase last year

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Stockholm, Jan. 28–Swedish garment giant H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB has reported 16 percent gross profit increase in 2015.

Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of H&M said 2015 has been a very expansive year for the H&M group.

“We have opened 413 new stores net, of which 249 in the fourth quarter, as well as ten new H&M online markets and we have successfully established stores in our new markets of India, South Africa, Peru, Taiwan and Macau. In total, we now have stores in 61 markets and offer online sales in 23 of these.

It published its full year report on Thursday.

Persson said sales have developed well for all our brands: H&M, H&M Home, COS, & Other Stories, Weekday, Monki and Cheap Monday. During the year sales totalled SEK 210 billion including VAT, which is an increase of 19 percent in SEK. In local currencies the increase was 11 percent. Profit for the year after tax increased to SEK 20.9 billion, which is our highest result to date – this despite the fact that the strong US dollar exchange rate has made our purchasing much more expensive.

“Our employees are doing a fantastic job and are decisive for our success. The increase in the financial result for the year means that SEK 75 m has been allocated to the H&M Incentive Program (HIP), which is for all employees in the H&M group. The accumulated value to an employee who has been in the programme since it started five years ago amounts to approximately SEK 45,000 per person*. In 2015 we created 16,000 new jobs within the H&M group and we are now more than 148,000 employees and we plan to employ further thousands of new employees in 2016 since our strong expansion continues.” said Persson.

“Our growth target of increasing the number of stores by 10-15 percent per year with continued high profitability remains intact, In 2016 we plan to open 425 new stores net and open H&M stores in three new markets: New Zealand, Cyprus and Puerto Rico. In addition, H&M plans to offer e-commerce in a further nine existing H&M markets. These countries are Ireland, Japan, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg. We are very pleased with the continued strengthening of our online customer offering and developments within our online operations.” said Persson.

“We operate in an industry that is exposed to a lot of competition and are therefore constantly working to develop our customer offering within our different brands which are all based on the idea of giving customers the best combination of fashion, quality, price and sustainability – from each brand’s unique identity. Among other things, we are making substantial long-term investments in order to grasp the opportunities coming from the increased digitalization.
In addition, we are also continuing to broaden the product range further as well as adding more brands to the group. One example of broadening our range is the successful launch of H&M Beauty, which is now in 900 stores in 41 markets and which will continue to be rolled out to a further 300 stores in 2016.” said Persson.

“Sustainability is something that concerns us all and at H&M we have been working on these matters for a long time. We have made lots of improvements and are constantly working on how to improve even further to meet the challenges that we and our industry are facing. A specific example of what we have achieved in 2015 is that we have switched to 100 percent renewable energy in all markets where this is possible. For the group as a whole, this means that around 80 percent of all the energy that we use globally comes from renewable sources; in 2014 this figure was 27 percent. We have also increased the proportion of cotton that comes from sustainable sources, which now represents 31 percent of our total cotton usage (21 percent in 2014). Our goal is that all cotton in our product range will come from sustainable sources by 2020 at the latest.We closely follow developments in the market in each country where we are present. For 2016 we see many opportunities, but are also well aware of the challenges that exist. We firmly believe that our customer offering and our investments will lead to increased market share and strengthen H&M’s position even further in 2016.” said Persson.

The following is the summery of the yearly report.

  • The H&M group’s sales excluding VAT increased by 19 percent to SEK 180,861 m (151,419) during the financial year. In local currencies the increase was 11 percent.
  • Gross profit increased by 16 percent to SEK 103,167 m (89,052). This corresponds to a gross margin of 57.0 percent (58.8).
  • Profit after financial items increased by SEK 1.3 billion and amounted to SEK 27,242 m (25,895), an increase of 5 percent. The group’s profit after tax increased to SEK 20,898 m (19,976), corresponding to SEK 12.63 (12.07) per share, an increase of 5 percent.
  • The profit increase for 2015 has led to SEK 75 m being allocated to the H&M Incentive Program (HIP), which is for all employees.
  • Very strong expansion during the year with a total net addition of 413 (379) new stores and ten new online markets. At the end of the financial year H&M had 23 online markets and the number of stores amounted to 3,924 in 61 markets.
  • More than 16,000 new jobs were created in the H&M group in 2015. The number of employees amounted to more than 148,000 (132,000) at the end of the year.
  • The Board of Directors proposes a dividend of SEK 9.75 (9.75) per share for the 2014/2015 financial year.
  • Sales including VAT in December 2015 increased by 10 percent in local currencies compared to the corresponding month the previous year.
  • Sales including VAT in January 2016 are expected to increase by 7 percent in local currencies compared to the same month last year.
  • The H&M group plans a net addition of around 425 new stores for the 2015/2016 financial year. Most of the expansion will take place in existing markets. New Zealand, Cyprus and Puerto Rico are planned to become new H&M markets. In addition, H&M plans to offer e-commerce in a further nine existing H&M markets.

The information in this full-year report is that which H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (publ) is required to disclose under Sweden’s Securities Market Act. It will be released for publication at 8.00 (CET) on 28 January 2016. This full-year report, and other information about H&M, is available at www.hm.com

H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (publ) was founded in Sweden in 1947 and is quoted on Nasdaq Stockholm. H&M’s business idea is to offer fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way. In addition to H&M, the group includes the brands COS, Monki, Weekday, Cheap Monday, & Other Stories as well as H&M Home. The H&M group has more than 3,900 stores in 61 markets including franchise markets. In 2015, sales including VAT amounted to SEK 210 billion and the number of employees was more than 148,000. For further information, visit www.hm.com.

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