H&M Sees Growth Potential in Greece as it Opens New Store
06/21/2012| 05:21am US/Eastern
By Jens Hansegard
STOCKHOLM--Swedish giant fashion retailer H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB (HM-B.SK) sees potential to grow in Greece, defying the country's plummeting consumer confidence amid fears over an eventual euro-zone exit, but the fast fashion retailer has contingency plans in case the country does leave the common currency, H&M's head of investor relations said.
"But whatever happens, we still see a potential to grow in Greece. Whether we sell in euros or drachmas doesn't change that fact," Nils Vinge said, adding that the company is carrying out ongoing risk analyses of Greece, which is now in its fifth year of recession.
"If things change, they will probably change extremely quickly, but we have made preparations," he said.
H&M on Saturday will open its 24th Greek store, in stark contrast to other retailers that are cutting ties to Greece amid a shrinking economy, political uncertainty and worries about the country's continued membership in the European common currency.
A week ago, French hypermarket chain Carrefour SA (>> CARREFOUR) said it is selling its stake in its Greek supermarket business at a loss to a local partner and leaving the country.
In its second quarter, ending May 31, H&M increased sales by 22% in Greece.
At 0736 GMT, shares were up 0.3% at SEK242.30.
Write to Jens Hansegard at firstname.lastname@example.org