The H&M clothing store is seen in Times Square in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 15, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

STOCKHOLM, Sept 15 (Reuters) – Sales at Sweden’s H&M (HMb.ST), the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, increased less than expected from a year ago in the three months through August, and remained lodged below pre-pandemic levels.

The company said on Wednesday sales grew 9% from a year earlier, or 14% measured in local currencies, to 55.6 billion crowns ($6.46 billion).

Analysts polled by Refinitiv had on average forecast net sales growth of 14%. read more

Compared with the same quarter 2019 – before the pandemic – net sales were down 11%, from 62.6 billion crowns. H&M said in a statement sales continued to be affected by the ongoing pandemic, with considerable variation between markets.

“Lockdowns and restrictions have continued to hamper development, particularly in Asia. However, as restrictions have been eased, sales in store have picked up in many markets while online sales have continued to increase,” it said.

H&M, which is due to publish its full fiscal third-quarter earnings report on Sept. 30, said its recovery continued with more full-price sales and good cost control.

($1 = 8.6130 Swedish crowns)

Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; editing by Niklas Pollard

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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