By Jonathan Davies

H&M has reported a 15% rise in sales for February, ahead of full first quarter results which are due next week.

It had been expected that the world's second largest fashion retailer would see increases of 13%, but it marked its fifth consecutive double-digit growth with a 15% increase.

H&M shares were up 2.1% in early trading.

The Swedish retailer also released part of its December-February figures, with a 25% rise during the period. It reported sales of 40.3 billion crowns ($4.6bn) excluding sales tax, again beating forecasts of 39.2 billion crowns.

Societe Generale analyst Anne Critchlow said the 15% rise in February sales are likely to translate to a 6% rise in like-for-like sales.

H&M will publish its full earnings report for the quarter on 24 March.