Expansion drives growth
April sales at H&M soared 21 per cent compared with last year, as the retailer continued to expand internationally.

Deutsche Bank analyst Stefan Lycke said: 'This corresponds to a like-for-like increase of 8 per cent. The space contribution is increasing more than expected, which is positive news because it will continue into the coming months.

'April sales performance is impressive partly because market conditions were much softer in April than in March and partly because this means that the exceptionally strong March performance did not steal incremental business from April.'

The German market was up 2 per cent in April, compared with 9 per cent in March and Sweden was up 1 per cent, compared with 14 per cent the month before. However, the US comparable store sales index declined 10 per cent in April, compared with 7 per cent in March.

The latest rise follows an earlier disclosure that H&M's turnover rose 11 per cent to Skr16.77 billion (£1.24 billion) in the three months to February 28. The retailer reported a profit of Skr3.41 billion (£251.5 million) after financial items - a 27 per cent increase on the same period last year. Operating profit was Skr3.22 billion (£237.5 million). The retailer's half-year results will be published on June 20.

In March, H&M launched its first upmarket Cos-branded store on London's Regent Street and a further six stores were opened in capital cities worldwide. A total of 10 Cos stores will open by the end of the year.

The retailer operates 1,407 stores across 28 countries.