The Stockholm-based group says its full year gross profit increased by 9% to 33.3 million kronor ($3.5 million). The growth in sales was driven by both in-store and online sales, with a strong increase in online sales of 24% in kronor while sales in the fourth quarter “was good in many markets,” the group said.
It singled out India where sales hiked by 33%, Poland where it increased by 21%, Mexico with 18% and Russia with 12%. Sales in the U.S. and UK increased by 6% and 3%, respectively. “This positive performance shows that we are on the right track,” said outgoing chief executive Karl-Johan Persson.
“In view of the ongoing transformation of fashion retail, we have been making significant and necessary investments for several years to secure the H&M group’s position and long-term development,” he added
The group also announced a change in its leadership with Helena Helmersson becoming the new CEO while Stefan Persson — the board chairman for the past 20 years — will step down as at the AGM and proposes that Persson, who had been chief executive for the past decade, succeed him.
Helmersson, born in 1973, joined H&M in 1997 and worked her way up. She most recent was chief operating officer with responsibility for expansion, logistics, production, and IT, among others. Besides H&M, the group includes brands like COS, Monki, Weekday, Cheap Monday, & Other Stories, H&M HOME, ARKET and Afound. The group has 51 online markets and more than 5,000 stores in 74 markets including franchise markets and employs approximately 179,000 people.