Will H&M perform better after ending monthly sales reports?
H&M announced yesterday that it would no longer issue monthly sales reports after reporting that its revenues increased seven percent in June. The Swedish apparel retailer, which had not been reporting same-store numbers, also promised greater transparency into its strategic initiatives and business results going forward.
It’s not unusual for publicly traded retailers to stop releasing monthly sales reports. Walmart ended the practice in 2009 and J.C. Penney did so in 2014. Home Depot, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Target and TJX Cos, haven’t reported monthly figures for years. H&M’s rationale for ending the practice is that monthly updates do not provide an accurate picture of where the business is headed. Instead, like others before it, H&M’s leadership maintains that quarterly and/or seasonal reports offer investors more accurate insights into its performance.
While H&M’s decision is unlikely to make or break its relationship with investors, not everyone is thrilled with the decision. An unnamed fund manager told Reuters, “Monthly data was not a problem when the company performed well. Why should it be now?”
H&M has steadily increased its store count in recent years even as its stock price has faltered. MarketWatch reports that the company had 4,517 stores in operation at the end of June, up from 4,095 at the same time last year. Earlier this year, the retailer announced it was looking to slow its global store count growth from 10 percent to 15 percent annually and focus instead on growing sales in individual markets, including online, by similar percentages. H&M’s share price has fallen 18 percent over the past year.
The company, which has been criticized for a lack of transparency into its strategic objectives and performance in the past, announced that it would begin to hold “capital market days” where it would be more forthcoming about its goals and results. Last month, Reuters reports, CEO Karl-Johan Perrson took part in a quarterly earnings conference call about H&M’s results for the first time.
H&M plans to reports it third quarter results on Sept. 15 and its fourth quarter numbers on Dec. 15.
- Sales Development in June – H&M Group
- H&M scraps monthly sales figures but promises more transparency – Reuters
- H&M June sales up 7%, to end monthly sales reports – MarketWatch
- Hennes & Mauritz Rolls Back on New Store Openings – The Wall Street Journal
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you approve of H&M’s decision to end monthly sales reports? Will the company’s capital market days and participation of the CEO in quarterly earnings calls provide the information investors need to make decisions about their holdings in H&M?