H&M profits hit by higher costs

H&M store, Tel Aviv
Image caption Hennes & Mauritz is the world's third biggest clothing retailer

Profits at the world's third biggest clothes retailer, Hennes & Mauritz, have edged higher.

In the first quarter H&M made a net profit of 2.7bn Swedish krona ($406m; £255m), up from 2.6bn krona in the same period in the previous year.

The company said that profits were hit by higher purchasing costs, which it did not pass on to customers.

H&M also announced that it will launch a new independent chain of stores next year.

H&M chief executive Karl-Johan Persson said: "The new year has started well with a strong sales increase in the first quarter.

"Despite increased purchasing costs we have continued to strengthen our customer offering."

The company plans to open its first stores in Bulgaria, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico and Thailand this year.

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