H&M sales rose nine per cent in the fourth quarter. The fashion retailer is on course to increase annual profits for the first time in four years following heavy investment in online and other services to adapt to a changing market. Over the past few years the Swedish-based retailer has invested in online services, new store concepts and independent brands to broaden its customer base and turn itself around. Germany is H&M's biggest market. The group has embarked on a road to recovery after slowing footfall at its core H&M-branded stores caused years of sliding group profits, mounting inventories and shrinking market value. Shares in the world's second-biggest apparel group have climbed 53 per cent this year.
Full-year profits are expected to grow for the first time since 2015, despite still-high inventory and investment levels. H&M has partnered with a startup Unspun on a project that recreates a 3D body scan into a pattern that can be used to customize jeans. H&M will begin implementing the project in its stores next year. Since last September, H&M’s innovation hub, The Laboratory, has been making the first software tests with one hundred clients of the Weekday chain. Customers are given the opportunity to customize Weekday jeans styles changing its trim, stitching and pockets and then using their body scan to fit the jeans.