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Gloucestershire Business News

Profits plunge at fast fashion retailer

Fashion retailer H&M has seen a massive drop in profits in the UK, but said the business has performed well in the light of tough trading conditions affecting the retail industry as a whole.

Pre-tax profits for the financial year ending 30th November 2018 plunged from £37.3 million to £10.72 million - a fall of 71.2 per cent, as reported by Retail Gazette.

Operating profit for the same period at the retailer, which has stores in Cheltenham and Gloucester, fell from £38.71 million to £12.21 million, a decline of 68.4 per cent.

While sales remained fairly stable, H&M partly blamed its fall in profits on high rents. The retailer, which opened 23 new stores in 2018, is currently in negotiations with landlords over rent.

H&M is demanding terms that mean property owners would have to bear the cost of increasing numbers of returned clothes. It is thought to be offering landlords "total occupational deals", where the rent is linked to the total amount of sales in a store.

Punchline said: "It is a sad sign of the times that increasing numbers of returned goods are having such a negative effect on H&M. But while we are sorry to see any high street retailer having a tough time, we don't think fleecing the landlords is the right answer."

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