Swedish fashion retailer H&M in 20 pct Q3 growth of profit, sales on popularity of collections

Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB says it is to expand its business further over the coming year to build on the popularity of its collections.

CEO Karl-Johan Persson says the company is in a "very intensive investment phase" and plans to open 8 to 10 online markets next year and 375 new stores worldwide.

His comments came as the company reported a near 20 percent increase in third-quarter net profit to 5.3 billion kronor from 4.4 billion kronor in 2013. Sales in the period grew to 38.8 billion kronor ($5.4 billion) from 32 billion kronor a year earlier.

During the past nine months, H&M has opened 209 stores for a total of 3341worldwide, including franchises and outlets under the company's other brands.