Cold weather has weighed on fashion sales in many European markets during January, with retailer H&M Hennes and Mauritz no exception.

Very cold weather in many of the retailer's European markets in the second half of the month would have impacted footfall and demand for spring fashions," according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Richard Chamberlain.

The comments came as H&M recorded its fourth consecutive month of comparable store sales declines, down 4% during January. Overall sales increased 5% over the month. 

"To us the apparel industry often seems too optimistic in relying on mild weather in Jan/Feb to drive sales," said Chamberlain.

"But more important is to look at H&M's relative performance. This has been quite choppy in recent months and in January appears to have performed broadly in line with an average of its major markets: -6% in Germany, +7% in the US, -3% in France, flat in Sweden and slightly down in the UK.

"This suggests that H&M's recent investments in its offer have not yet translated to sustained like-for-like sales out-performance which may be a function of its size and maturity in European markets and may necessitate further investments in its offer in future."