H&M Reports Profit Rise

Swedish fashion retailer H&M announced on Thursday that profit rose nearly 18 percent in the fourth quarter on increased sales and a strong local currency.

In the three months ended November 30th, net profit rose toUS$544 million, or US$0.66 per share.

H&M, one of Europe’s largest clothing chains, also said it will introduce two new businesses in 2007 - a home textiles online shop and catalog, and a new store chain called Collections of Style, featuring higher priced clothing items.

In total, the Stockholm-based company said it plans to increase its number of stores by more than 10 percent during the year, adding about 170 new outlets, mostly in North America and Europe.

H&M currently has 1,345 stores in 24 countries.