H&M announces new CEO and turnover rise

                  Helena Helmersson is H&M's new CEO

                  Helena Helmersson has been appointed as new CEO of H&M, the Swedish fashion chain announced at the same time as its (good-looking) annual results. Her predecessor, Karl-Johan Persson, will be chairing the board of directors from now on.

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                  First female CEO

                  H&M's current board president, Stefan Persson, will be stepping down and succeeded by his son Karl-Johan. COO Helena Helmersson will be promoted to CEO, which signals the first time that the executive power in the fashion group will be held by a woman.

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                  Helmersson has been at the company for more than twenty years and started her career in the purchasing department, climbing the ladder to become sustainability manager and, a little more than a year ago, operational director.

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                  Higher prices

                  At the same time, H&M announced its results for 2019, and they looked quite good as turnover rose by 11?% to 232.76?billion Swedish crowns (21.9?billion euros). Excluding exchange rate fluctuations however, growth would have been 'only' 6?%. Despite rising prices, H&M succeeded in expanding its market share. Moreover, the group's online sales went op by 24?%.

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                  As profit before taxes went up 11?% to 17.39?billion crowns (1.6?billion euros), the group will invest 86?million crowns (8?million euros) in HIP, the programme through which the fashion group shares part of its profits with its employees.

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                  Next year, the group hopes to open 200?stores in Asia, Eastern Europe and South-America. However, 175?stores in Western Europe, the United States and China will have to close, leaving a net store opening rate of only 25. For the new year, H&M aims to achieve a turnover growth of 10?to 15?%.

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