H&M's December-February sales growth meets expectations, China down 24%

STOCKHOLM, March 16 (Reuters) - H&M, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, posted on Monday a rise in first-quarter sales that roughly matched expectations and said sales in China fell 24% in the quarter.

Net sales in the December-February period rose 8% to 54.9 billion crowns ($5.65 billion) from a year-earlier 51.0 billion. Analysts had on average forecast a rise to 55.1 billion crowns, according to Refinitiv data.

Measured in local currencies, sales growth was 5%.

The Swedish group said it was temporarily closing its stores in Poland, Spain, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Belgium, France, Austria, Luxembourg, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia and Kazakhstan, and some stores in Greece due to the coronavirus.

$1 = 9.7206 Swedish crowns Reporting by Anna Ringstrom, Editing by Simon Johnson