Pre-tax profits at H&M rose 6 per cent to Skr5.78bn (£452.9m) in the second quarter to the end of May. Sales excluding VAT soared 23 per cent to Skr26.5bn (£2.1bn), an 8 per cent increase in local currencies and a decline of 2 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

Gross margins were 61 per cent, declining 1.3 percentage points because of currency fluctuations. Like-for-likes in May fell 9 per cent. H&M attributed between 4 and 5 per cent of the fall to calendar effects. Sales for the first half increased 21 per cent to Skr49.8bn (£3.9bn), or 6 per cent in local currencies.