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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  NASDAQ OMX STOCKHOLM  >  Hennes & Mauritz    HM B   SE0000106270


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Hennes & Mauritz : H&M shares surge after first quarterly profit rise in two years

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10/03/2019 | 07:37am EST
H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson talks during an interview at the retailer's headquarters in Stockholm

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden's H&M posted its first rise in quarterly pretax profit in more than two years on Thursday as the world's second-biggest fashion retailer said its drive to meet rapid changes in the market were on track.

H&M has been spending heavily on reviving its business after years of falling profits and growing inventories due to slowing sales at its core H&M branded stores.

Shares in H&M, which is controlled by the founding Persson family, with the founder's son the chairman and his grandson the CEO, were up 6.5% at 1040 GMT.

"H&M delivered its first strong quarterly earnings in over four years, which could raise confidence in the turnaround," investment bank Carnegie said in research note.

After hitting a 13-year low in 2018, the shares have soared 56% this year on hopes H&M is starting to get back on track, though they remain at about half their peak levels hit in 2015.

Pretax profit for the June to August quarter beat expectations, rising for the first time since the second quarter of 2017, to 5.0 billion crowns ($507 million) from 4.01 billion a year ago. Analysts had on average forecast a rise to 4.93 billion crowns, Refinitiv data showed.

"The continued development of more full-price sales and reduced markdowns contributed to a 26% increase in operating profit in the third quarter, all while maintaining a high level of activity in our transformation work," CEO Karl-Johan Persson said in a statement.

Profit growth was also helped by accelerating sales growth.

H&M had said on Sept. 16 that sales growth in the quarter was the steepest in three years buoyed by well-received summer ranges and increased market share. But analysts cautioned that investment might again squeeze profit margins, and shares fell on that day.

H&M's gross margin actually widened to 50.8% from 50.3%, and its operating profit margin rose to 8.0% from 7.1%.

Zara owner Inditex, H&M's biggest rival, has been weathering challenges in the sector better than most yet its first-half results on Sept. 11 revealed disappointing margin growth that overshadowed a strong rise in sales.

Smaller brick-and mortar rival Forever 21 filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 30.

H&M's inventories increased 9% to 42.0 billion crowns at the end of its third quarter, equivalent to 18.5% of sales. However, H&M said that, measured in local currencies, they shrank by 1% while the composition of the stock had kept improving.

The group in 2018 announced a target to cut inventories to 12-14% of sales by the end of 2020. CEO Persson told Reuters on Thursday that H&M still aims for that range, but no longer has a timeframe for it.

Price cuts to shift unsold clothes decreased for a fourth straight quarter, by 2 percentage points in relation to sales. H&M in June had predicted a 1.5 percentage point decrease. The company unusually did not provide an outlook for markdowns in the current quarter.

H&M said sales in September, the first month of its fourth quarter, grew 8% in local currencies. Persson told analysts and media on a call that favorable weather had helped boost sales.

"We believe we have reached an inflection point for margins and foresee the potential for further markdown recovery over the next 2-3 years," said RBC analyst Richard Chamberlain, who recently raised his rating on H&M to "outperform".

Executives also said on the call that activity to transform the company would remain high in coming quarters and Persson said investment levels would stay elevated.

Analysts however still expect H&M to grow full-year profits, for the first time since 2015.

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; additional reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; editing by Edmund Blair and Jason Neely)

By Anna Ringstrom

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
HENNES & MAURITZ -0.95% 183.12 Delayed Quote.46.87%
INDUSTRIA DE DISEÑO TEXTIL, S.A. 0.43% 28.1 End-of-day quote.25.73%
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Financials (SEK)
Sales 2019 233 B
EBIT 2019 16 775 M
Net income 2019 13 045 M
Debt 2019 12 010 M
Yield 2019 5,22%
P/E ratio 2019 23,5x
P/E ratio 2020 21,6x
EV / Sales2019 1,37x
EV / Sales2020 1,30x
Capitalization 306 B
Duration : Period :
Hennes & Mauritz Technical Analysis Chart | MarketScreener
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Technical analysis trends HENNES & MAURITZ
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus UNDERPERFORM
Number of Analysts 24
Average target price 164,09  SEK
Last Close Price 185,16  SEK
Spread / Highest target 26,9%
Spread / Average Target -11,4%
Spread / Lowest Target -59,5%
EPS Revisions
Karl-Johan Erling Göran Persson Chief Executive Officer
Stefan Persson Chairman
Helena Helmersson Chief Operating Officer
Jyrki Tervonen Chief Financial Officer
Joel Ankarberg Head-Information Technology
Sector and Competitors
1st jan.Capitalization (M$)
HENNES & MAURITZ46.87%31 886
KERING31.41%74 977
FAST RETAILING CO., LTD.25.43%63 786
ROSS STORES36.26%40 583