H&M to add 435 stores

H&M plans to open more than a store a day this year as the chain remains focused on brick-and-mortar growth, particularly in the United States.

H&M has hit a financial wall as fourth quarter profits fell 8 percent, thanks to warm winter weather and a strong dollar, according to Women's Wear Daily.

But the picture is rosier in the United States, where sales increased 18 percent. It's also a market targeted for expansion.

H&M ended the year with 3,924 stores in 61 markets. It plans to open 425 stores this year, more than a store a day, and the majority are planned for the United States and China.

The aggressive store expansion began in the second half of 2015, with 249 locations added in the three months ended Nov. 30. In all, the retailer opened 413 stores last year.

Stores are also getting new or expanded departments. It has added suits, fitness wear and beauty in more stores and will continue that initiative through 2016.

H&M is also focused on e-commerce, an area where the retailer has been slower to adapt than most, but still views brick and mortar as its core expansion mode. H&M is also developing new concepts in the United States, opening its second & Other Stories location in New York City and a new COS concept store.

"We are very happy with our online development," said Nils Vinge, head of investor relations, on a conference call with analysts. "[But] we definitely see potential to grow the number of physical stores for many years."

For more:
-See this WWD article (tiered subscription)
-See this Racked story

Related stories:
H&M's & Other Stories opens Fifth Ave. flagship
H&M expands COS locations in US
H&M to open as many as 54 US stores in 2015
H&M profits jump 36%
H&M to open 400 new stores, launch beauty brand