H&M UK margins make profits soar

Sales at Swedish fashion store group H&M's British stores leaped 37 per cent to SEK 1.1 billion (£80.8 million) for the first quarter, outpacing international growth.

H&M's total sales rose 12 per cent to SEK 12.63 billion (£928.6 million).

Six new shops will open in the UK in the second quarter. At present, there are 69 British stores that generate 9 per cent of sales.

Chief executive Rolf Eriksen said gross profit had risen 15 per cent to SEK5.86 billion (£430 million) as a result of a gross margin of 54.4 per cent - 'the highest margin we have ever reached in Q1.' Improvements in purchasing and logistics also helped.