H&M shares surge after surprise profit

STORY: H&M shares surged over 15% on Thursday (March 30).

That after it posted a surprise first-quarter profit of almost $70 million.

Analysts had forecast a loss.

The gain came despite consumers curbing spending amid a cost-of-living crunch.

A cold spring also held back sales of new-season apparel.

But moves to cut costs appear to be paying off.

The retailer saw its profit margin rise to 1.3%, up from just 0.9% a year earlier.

Chief executive Helena Helmersson said that put it on track to meet a goal of hitting 10% profit margins next year.

Analysts at Credit Suisse called that target “very challenging”, however.

H&M also continues to lag bigger rival Inditex, owner of the Zara chain.

It saw profit surge by more than a quarter over the past year.

H&M also faces mounting competition from online rivals like SHEIN.