It was not a good back to school season for retailers. In September, U.S. retail sales declined for the first time since January, and H&M posted slower than average growth. After months of double-digit increases -- including a 19 percent jump in August -- sales were up only 8 percent year over year.
Typically, H&M's sales grow in proportion to the number of stores it opens, but sales this month failed to match the 11 percent increase in storefronts. As of September 30, H&M had 3,388 stores in operation, compared to 3,006 on September 30, 2013.
Could this be the beginning of a worsening trend? H&M doesn't think so, blaming September's unusually warm weather on the less than spectacular growth numbers. We'll know more when the retailer posts its October sales results on Nov. 17.