Swedish fashion group Hennez & Mauritz (H&M)
Sales at comparable H&M stores -- open for a year or more -- were down 1 percent in November, H&M said on Thursday, missing a mean forecast for a 0.4 percent rise in a Reuters poll of analysts. Forecasts ranged between minus 4 and plus 4 percent.
Total turnover at H&M, which launched a collection by Italian fashion icon Donatella Versace in November, rose 9 percent in local currencies, undershooting the poll average of a 10.2 percent rise.
With the euro zone trembling due to its debt crisis and global economic growth looking sluggish, consumers have held back on spending instead of splurging on new fashion items.
U.S. retail sales grew at their slowest pace in five months in November, tempering expectations for a strong Christmas shopping season. In the euro area, October retail sales rose slightly on the month, but economists said future prospects were poor.
H&M, with almost 2,500 stores in 43 countries, is often seen as better positioned to cope with a downturn thanks to its geographic spread and focus on catwalk fashion at low prices.
In H&M's fiscal fourth quarter to November, sales excluding value-added tax rose to 30.9 billion Swedish crowns ($4.4 billion) from 29.7 billion a year earlier and below 31.4 billion crowns seen in a Reuters poll. Full fourth-quarter results are due on January 26.
Sales at the world's No. 1 clothing retailer Inditex
($1 = 7.0180 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Veronica Ek; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)