H&M blames warm weather for September sales slide

STORY: Europeans might have enjoyed September's warm weather, but H&M did not.

The Swedish retailer blamed unusually hot weather for delaying the start of the autumn shopping season.

And for sending sales lower in September.

H&M said sales this month would be down a tenth year-on-year.

That compares with its chief rival - Zara owner Inditex - which reported sales between August and mid-September - as being up 14%.

The drop-off is a blow to the world's second-largest fashion retailer as it tries to turn its performance around and compete with Inditex.

But although September proved a difficult month, operating profit in the June-August period, the Swedish group's third quarter, jumped to $431 million.

That was well up from last year and slightly above forecasts.

Overall, investors were pleased with the numbers coming out of H&M Wednesday (September 27), driving shares 5% higher in early trade.

H&M stuck to a goal of raising its operating margin to 10% next year.

It also said its cost-cutting program was continuing "at full speed."