STOCKHOLM Jan 30 Hennes & Mauritz, the
world's second-largest fashion retailer, posted fiscal
fourth-quarter pretax profit below expectations on Wednesday and
said it would stay on the path of strong store expansion this
Pretax earnings in the September-November period for the
retailer, whose key rival is Spanish group Inditex,
fell to 6.6 billion crowns ($1.03 billion) from a year-earlier
6.8 billion. Analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast
an unchanged profit.
It said its overall 2012 earnings, up to 22.3 billion crowns
from 20.9 billion, were affected by long-term investments in
online shopping, a new brand and a future broadening of the
range. It said it would open around 325 new stores this year,
against 304 in 2012.
($1 = 6.3815 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom, editing by Patrick Lannin)