Every time H&M releases an earnings report, the Swedish retailer makes sure to inform investors about all of the stores it's opened and plans to open, regardless of its sales performance during that particular financial period (which, granted, is usually pretty good). And on Wednesday it had an especially big milestone to announce: It will be opening its 4,000th store this month — in the Mall of India in New Delhi. (Note: that's 4,000 stores across the group's brands, which include H&M, Cos, & Other Stories, Cheap Monday and Monki, though the vast majority are H&M stores.) This also marks a doubling of the company's store count since 2010.
While 4,000 is already a mind-boggling number of stores, H&M isn't stopping there: The company plans to add 425 new locations to its fleet in the fiscal year, including flagship stores in South Africa, Switzerland, Hungary and India. It will also expand its e-commerce footprint to include Ireland, Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Japan, Greece, Canada and South Korea.
Speaking of fiscal, H&M had a slow start to 2016 due to the unseasonably warm winter that left many retailers with excess outerwear inventory, and forced H&M to increase markdowns. The strength of the U.S. dollar to the Swedish Krona also had a negative effect, leading to a pretty big decline in profit — down 29 percent in the first quarter of 2016 (Dec. 1 - Feb. 9) compared to the previous year. Profit margin (what H&M actually makes after production and shipping costs) dipped from 55.2 percent to 52 percent. However, H&M assures investors that the strengthening of the U.S. dollar will no longer be an issue by the fourth quarter. Sales this quarter rose only 9 percent, a bit below expectations.