Swedish fashion retailer H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB today (15 November) said its comparable sales fell 5% in October, the largest drop since April.

Comparable units comprise the stores and the internet and catalogue sales countries that have been in operation for at least a financial year.

Revenue at local currency rates and including VAT rose 4% compared to October last year, helped by the addition of 305 new stores during the year.

The retailer currently operates 2,715 stores. Its results have fluctuated over the course of the year, with a 16% comparable sales gain in March followed by a 10% drop in April.

Analysts had expected the sales momentum seen in September, when comparable sales increased 6% and total sales surged 15%, to have continued into October.

But Bank of America Merryll Lynch analyst Richard Chamberlain noted: "As quite often happens in apparel seasons, a strong month can be followed by a weaker one."

He said strong sales in September are likely to have carried on into the first week of October, but may have slowed as temperatures were higher than average in many parts of Europe. 

But he added: "This result is likely to raise some concerns over the strength of H&M's offer this season and means that further investments in quality/style may be necessary."