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H&M Same-Store Sales Rise 3% in January

Swedish fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz reported on Friday a 3 percent rise in January sales at stores open more than a year, lagging market expectations.

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The average in a poll of 10 analysts by Reuters was for a 5.1 percent rise in like-for-like sales.

The world's third-largest clothing firm by sales said total turnover for the month was up 17 percent.

It had already announced a rise in total sales to Jan. 29 of 16 percent alongside its fourth-quarter results.

"I'm impressed by the total sales (growth) of 17 percent," said Christian Nagstrup, analyst at Jyske Bank. "But I think that the number was more or less known by the market, so I don't expect a big reaction."

The company does not offer any commentary with its sales figures.

Nor does it break out sales figures by market or give a value for monthly sales.

Announcing its fourth-quarter results last month, Chief Executive Rolf Eriksen said H&M had been taking market share in December, the first month of its fiscal year.

Sales figures for January indicate this has continued.

In Germany, H&M's biggest market, sales by all clothing firms fell 1 percent in the month, according to industry body Textilwirtschaft.

February has had a mixed start.

In H&M's second-largest market, Britain, the value of total clothing sales fell for a fourth month running in January on a like-for-like basis, the British Retail Consortium said.

Overall clothing sales in the Swedish market fell 0.5 percent in January, according to retail institute HUI.

Late in January, H&M, Sweden's biggest company by market capitalisation, posted a pretax profit of 6.2 billion crowns ($972 million) in the fourth quarter, short of forecasts.

The firm's sales for December, the first month in its fiscal year, rose 10 percent in total and fell 1 percent on a same-store basis.

February sales figures are due on March 27.