Picture: ZANELE ZULU/African News Agency (ANA)
INTERNATIONAL - Swedish clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) said yesterday that weaker sales and higher markdowns had weighed on first-quarter earnings.

Net profit in the first quarter - covering December to February - almost halved year-on-year to 1.37billion kronor (R1.94bn). Sales, excluding value-added tax , slipped almost 2percent to 46.2bn kronor. 

The weaker sales trend spilled over from the preceding quarter, generating higher inventories and the need for clearance sales, the company said. Online sales grew by 20percent in the quarter compared to a year ago.