New branding costs put a dent in H&M’s fourth-quarter profits


STOCKHOLM — Fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB blamed higher costs developing a new brand and the effects of a stronger Swedish krona for a 1-percent fall in fourth-quarter profits.

The decline broke a three-quarter streak of rising earnings for H&M, which specializes in offering trendy fashion lines at low prices.

Net profit in the quarter was 5.29 billion kronor (US$825 million), down from 5.36 billion kronor a year earlier, the Stockholm-based company said Wednesday. Sales rose 5 percent to 37.9 billion kronor, from 36.2 billion kronor in the fourth quarter of 2011.