Stockholm, Sweden -- Swedish fast-fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB reported Thursday that net income for the quarter ended Aug. 31 edged up less than 1% to $550 million, missing analysts’ expectations of $618 million in profit. Sales rose 10% in local currency, but gross margins shrank and the retailer said it would delay the start of online operations in the U.S. until next summer to allow it more time to adapt to the market.
However, CEO Karl-Johan Persson said that H&M will ramp up store expansion, opening about 300 new stores this fiscal year compared with its previous estimate of 275. Its growth focus is on the U.S. and Asia.
H&M also said it plans to launch a new retail brand for women, & Other Stories, in spring 2013. The price points are expected to be slightly higher than those at H&M’s namesake stores,
“& Other Stories is about bringing everything she can wear into one place, focusing on the whole look," the company said in a statement. "We believe shoes, bags, jewelry, lingerie and beauty are key for styling and just as important as clothing."