Clothing retailer H&M Group posted a profit of SEK10.2bn (US$1.5bn) for the first nine months of the fiscal year, up 14% despite flat like-for-like sales.

Sales excluding VAT were up 12%, or 11% in local currencies, to SEK62.2bn.

For the third quarter, the company registered a 12% sales hike to SEK20.9bn, although like-for-likes were down 1%.

Third quarter profit after financial items was SEK4.6bn, up 4% on last year. For the nine-month period, profit after financial items was up 9% to SEK14.1bn.

H&M's August sales rose 8% in local currencies, but like-for-likes were down 3%. Sales in September, up to and including 28 September, are up 9%.

The company described the level of its stock-in-trade as "very satisfying", with a higher proportion of new autumn garments compared to the same time last year.