FILE PHOTO: A woman is reflected next to the logo of the H&M fashion retailer in the newly opened Mall of Berlin shopping centre in Berlin, Germany, in this September 25, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

March 31, 2022

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s H&M reported on Thursday a smaller profit than expected for the December-February period, its fiscal first quarter, as investments and lingering effects of the pandemic weighed.

The world’s second-biggest fashion retailer swung to a pretax profit of 282 million crowns ($30.45 million) from a year-earlier loss of 1.39 billion. Analysts polled by Refinitiv had on average forecast a 1.04 billion crown profit.

“Sales and profits for the quarter were impacted by the negative effects of the pandemic in many of the group’s major markets,” H&M said in a statement.

“The result was also affected by increased growth-related initiatives, particularly within tech and the supply chain.”

The group said sales in the March 1-28 period were up 6% in local currencies. Excluding Russia and Belarus, where H&M has temporary closed stores, the increase was 11%.

($1 = 9.2620 Swedish crowns)

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; editing by Niklas Pollard)

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