>> A consumer shift to shopping online is costing fashion retailer H&M. It plans to open far fewer bricks and mortar stores this year in response. Following years of rapid expansion, the world's second biggest clothes group after Zara owner Inditex has struggled to respond to the growth of e-commerce.
Announcing on Wednesday, it's fourth quarter operating profit fell 34% from a year earlier, and saying it plans to accelerate its online push to offset falling sales in real stores. H&M shares already down a third over the last year. Initially fell as much as 8% on the back of the news, making them the biggest losers on a flat European retail sector index.
The Swedish fashion chain plans a new addition of about 220 stores this year compared with 388 last year. Inditex has consistently outperformed its rival getting new designs to its stores within weeks and better managing online sales. In a statement, H&M's Chief Executive said the industry changes are challenging everyone and will continue in 2018.