H&M profits drop following Russia exit and higher costs

Swedish fashion retail giant H&M has revealed that operating profits slumped to around $80 million between September and November last year.

Figures were down from 6.2 billion Swedish Krona to 821 million in the final quarter of 2022.

The fast-fashion brand said that profit loss came as a result of winding down its business in Russia, as well as higher prices for raw materials and freight.

H&M’s latest financial results come after the company announced last year that it would reduce is workforce to cut costs across the business.

In November, the retailer said it would axe around 1,500 roles in total, not specifying where the cuts would be.

The cuts are part of a wider global programme to drive down costs and improve efficiency, with the initiative relating to administrative and overhead costs.

H&M said that its loss in profits could also be attributed to a one-off charge for the “cost and efficiency programme", as well as rising energy prices.

The company says that the job cuts would provide an annual saving of roughly £160 million.

“Our decision to wind down the business in Russia, which was an important and profitable market, has had a significant negative impact on our results,” said Helen Helmersson, chief executive. “The hikes in raw materials and freight costs combined with a historically strong US dollar resulted in extensive cost increases for purchases of goods.”

Helmersson continued: “Rather than passing on the full cost to our customers, we chose to strengthen our market position further.”

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