Retail giant H&M bounced back from a disappointing end to 2015, posting an 8 percent increase in sales in the first quarter of the fiscal year.
The company said Tuesday that the Feb. 29 leap day had helped boost business by around two percentage points, resulting in quarterly revenues including value-added tax (VAT) of 50.6 billion Swedish kroner, or roughly $6.1 billion.
Sales excluding VAT in the three months ended Feb. 29 reached 43.7 billion Swedish kroner (or $5.2 billion). While this was up from the 40.3 billion Swedish kroner ($4.8 billion) reported in the year-ago period, it was down from the 48.7 billion Swedish kroner ($5.9 billion) in sales achieved in the previous quarter, and missed the 44.17 billion Swedish kroner ($5.3 billion) that Thomson Reuters analysts had anticipated.
As the retailer heads into the second quarter, it operates 3,970 stores worldwide, compared to the 3,551 locations it had a year ago.
In other news, H&M has paired up with artist and singer M.I.A. as part of its goal to close the loop in fashion. The retailer is aiming to collect 1,000 tons of unwanted garments from customers for the first-ever World Recycle Week (Apr. 18-24).
“To raise awareness, M.I.A. has filmed an exclusive new music video for H&M highlighting the environmental impact of clothes going to landfills around the world,” a statement said, noting that the video will debut on Apr. 11 on hm.com. “Alongside the video by M.I.A., bloggers and characters from the video will film rehaul clips, showing the pieces they’re recycling through the H&M Garment Collecting project during World Recycle Week—meaning the opposite of haul where you upload a video showing items recently purchased.”
H&M is inviting consumers to create their own clips using the hashtag #HMrehaul before then bringing them to any of its stores.
“By recycling just one T-shirt 2,100 liters of water can be saved—imagine the impact of 1,000 tons of garments collected during World Recycle Week,” the retailer said, adding that since the Garment Collecting initiative launched in 2013, it has collected more than 25,000 tons of clothing.