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Strong growth helps retailer H&M Q3 profit

STOCKHOLM (AP) -- Fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB says its third-quarter profit swelled by nearly a quarter following strong sales particularly in China and Japan, and the popularity of its summer collections.

The Swedish company says Thursday that its revenue was 32 billion kronor ($5 billion), up from 28.8 billion kronor a year earlier. Net profit was 4.4 billion kronor ($690 million), 22 percent higher than the 3.6 billion kronor the year before.

CEO Karl-Johan Persson is upbeat about the outlook, describing the August launch of an online store in the U.S. as "very successful." He says the company's "offering stands up well in the world's largest online market."

During the past nine months, H&M opened 215 new stores worldwide. It repeated its target to increase stores by 10-15 percent annually.