H&M has posted rising global sales but failed to achieve the level of growth expected by analysts.

The world’s second-largest retailer reported a 4% year-on-year sales rise, in local currencies, in May, down from a 7% year-on-year increase in April. Analysts had expected a 6% rise.

When converted into Swedish krona, sales reached 51,383m (£4.6bn) excluding VAT in its second quarter.

Overall, the group’s sales rose 5% in the second quarter to end of May. At that time it had 4,498 stores worldwide, up from 4,077 at the end of May 2016.

While H&M continues to outpace much of the fashion market, which is suffering due to a reduction in household spending, rocky consumer confidence and a trend towards leisure and experiential spending, it failed to match the numbers of its closest competitor, Inditex.

The Spanish retail giant, owner of fast-fashion force Zara, posted surging sales and profits during its first quarter.

Sales were up 14% to £4.8bn in the three months to April 30, while profits surged 18% to £575m.