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Due to the weak and lackluster figures, H&M announced their future plans and steps this 2018; according to the company, is looking to add fewer stores this year and are looking to approximately add a total of 220 stores from a total of 388 planned store they have last year.

Mumbai: Swedish fast fashion brand H&M has almost doubled annual sales in India from Swedish krona 606 million (Rs491.486 crore) to Swedish krona 1.18 billion (or Rs957 crore) for the period between December 2016 and November 2017, the company said on Wednesday. "At the heart of the transformation is digitalisation and it is driving the need to transform and re-think faster and faster", said H&M CEO Karl Johan Persson.

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Persson told Reuters he expects H&M, which has also been squeezed by tougher brick-and-mortar competition in its core budget segment, to roll out a more enticing H&M store concept in 2019. Profit after financial items amounted to SEK 20,809 m (24,039). The fashion group will shut down 170 stores in 2018 and will also launch outlet formula Afound.

H&M will also mull over the possibility of introducing a dividend reinvestmnet scheme where shareholders could reinvest the dividend received in newly-issued H&M shares, helping the company to fund the continued high investments needed in digitalization.

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Additionally, the company will launch an off-price brand, Afound, which will sell products from its own brands as well as third-party fashion and lifestyle brands. The focus for new store openings in 2018 will be on growth markets Uruguay and Ukraine, the company said in the annual report. It will be launched in Sweden, with a first store in Stockholm opening in parallel with a digital marketplace in Sweden.

The Swedish-based fashion retailer said it wasn't the only brand facing challenges from the changing way in which shoppers make their purchases. For years, H&M's successful formula has relied on new stores in new markets, with less emphasis on robust e-commerce, a tack that is now coming to bite it. In 2018, it will have net store growth. The group will join forces with Alibaba's Chinese brand platform Tmall in March.

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It said preliminary sales were unexpectedly sluggish again in December and January, up just 1 percent, and markdowns in the first quarter to shift unsold clothes would again be bigger than in the same period a year ago.


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