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H&M Delivers First Annual Profit Rise Since 2015, CEO To Become Chairman

Analysts had on average forecast a profit of 4.78 billion crowns, according to Refinitiv data.

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Sweden's H&M, the world's second-biggest fashion retailer, said on Thursday its chief executive - one of its founding family members - would step down to become new chairman, replacing his father.

H&M veteran Helena Helmersson will succeed Karl-Johan Persson as CEO, the company said in a statement.

"It is a natural change, after 20 years as Chairman, to hand over to Karl-Johan, who has been CEO for more than 10 years," Chairman Stefan Persson said in a statement.

The news came as H&M reported its first rise in annual profit since 2015 following heavy investments to catch up with the fast-changing retail market and a rise in fiscal fourth-quarter pretax profit that beat market expectations.

Profit in the September through November quarter was 5.40 billion crowns ($568.6 million), up from a year-ago 4.35 billion. Analysts had on average forecast a profit of 4.78 billion crowns, according to Refinitiv data.

In the full fiscal year, profit grew to 13.4 billion crowns from 12.7 billion as sales rose on the back of big investments in logistics, digital technology, new store concepts and independent brands to meet changing shopping habits and tougher competition.

"The timing is favourable for making this change now since we have gradually improved profits and have a strong position with many well-established brands, millions of customers worldwide and good financial strength," Stefan Persson said of the management change.

(Reuters)


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