H&M profit drops in Q4, still on track to open 275 stores

Stockholm, Sweden -- Swedish fast-fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz reported Thursday that net profit for the fourth quarter dipped to $997.2 million from $1.1 billion in the year earlier period. Sales in December, the first month of H&M's fiscal first quarter, were up 13% year-on-year in local currencies, against a forecast 12%. Same-store sales were up 4%.

"Most indicators suggest that the macro-economic climate in many of our markets will continue to be tough during 2012," said CEO Karl-Johan Persson.

Despite the surprise drop in Q4 profit, H&M said it would press ahead with its expansion, opening 275 new stores in its 2011/12 financial year, including its first in a Latin American market, Mexico. The chain operates about 2,500 stores in 43 countries.