By Aimee Chanthadavong

Swedish clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz, but more popularly known as H&M, has seen profits for the full-year drop SEK 20,942 million (approximately AU$9.1 million) compared to the previous year.

Meanwhile sales in comparable units decreased by 1 per cent, blaming the Swedish Krona was strongly negatively affected by currency.

Despite this, the company saw strong expansion during the year where it opened 266 new stores in China, the US, the UK and Germany.

It also plans to open an additional 275 stores for the 2011/12 financial year with plans to make Bulgaria, Latvia, Malaysia and Thailand new H&M markets. It will also be opening its first store in Latin America in Mexico.

When RetailBiz asked whether H&M will consider opening in Australia, Camilla Emilsson-Falk, a H&M spokesperson, hinted that while it’s not in the company’s current plans, it looks to be a prospective market.

“As you know we are an expansive company and we always look for markets with large population basis where we can grow cost efficiently. However for the moment we have no concrete plans for Australia,” she said.

“This Spring we are opening our first stores in Bulgaria and this Autumn we are opening in Latvia, Thailand, Malaysia and Mexico. There is no goal in itself to open new stores in as many new markets as possible, since we want to grow in a controlled way. But of course Australia is a very interesting market.”

According to Emilsson-Falk, several factors are taking into consideration before the company decides to expand into a new market.

“The most important are customer base, best location and best business conditions. The best business location is so important that we would rather hold off from opening a new store and wait until the right location becomes available,” she said.

So for now, the Asian market is the closest H&M will get to Australia but so far it’s working in favour for the company.

“Our business concept of fashion and quality at the best price works very well in Asia. We are growing in all our markets and we see great potential for further growth in all of them. China is where we expand the fastest and we have more than 80 stores already. Singapore has started very well. We opened in the best location in Orchard Road in September last year. It was our first store in Southeast Asia, a region with great potential where we are looking forward to open more stores,” Emilsson-Falk said.