H&M Sees 12% Sales Jump, Launches Ecommerce in France

Another country finally gets to shop H&M online.
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Dhani Mau
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Another country finally gets to shop H&M online.
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H&M is on a roll: After double-digit sales increases in the fourth quarter and over the holidays, sales increased 12 percent for the first quarter of 2014 ending February 28, the company reported Monday.

H&M attributes its growth to the opening of several new stores -- 374 since February of 2013 -- and the Swedish fast fashion chain plans to open several more in the coming months.

But it's not solely banking on brick and mortar retail to continue growing those numbers. After (finally!) launching an online store in the U.S. in the summer of 2013, H&M announced launch of e-commerce in France on Monday, which also seems long overdue. The launch includes ladies, men's, teens, plus-size, children’s and H&M Home, which in France is available exclusively online. France is the 10th market in which H&M launched e-commerce after Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Germany, Austria, the UK, The Netherlands and the U.S.

It sounds like we can expect positive reports from other retailers as well -- according to the National Retail Federation, February sales at U.S. clothing and accessories stores increased 2.4 percent year-over-year and 0.4 percent over January. Though the increases are modest, it's the first positive retail sales report of the year, and hopefully a sign of a spring that will be better to retailers than winter was.