The world's second-biggest fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz today reported a bigger rise than expected in May sales in local currencies. 

Local-currency sales at the Swedish budget apparel firm, which has the bulk of its business in Europe, grew 10% in the last month of its fiscal second quarter, beating a forecast 8% in a Reuters poll of analysts.

H&M's single biggest market - Germany - saw overall apparel sales shrink 5% in the month, according to data from German monthly Textilwirtschaft data. 

H&M did not provide a country to country sales breakdown. 

H&M's second-quarter sales were 45.9 billion crowns ($5.58 billion), up 21% from a year earlier, beating a forecast of 44.7 billion. 

The company said crown weakness against most of its sales currencies had a substantial positive effect on reported sales. 

The fast-expanding firm said that including value-added tax (VAT) sales were up 10% in local currencies and up 20% in crowns. 

Biggest rival Inditex last week reported a higher than expected profit for its fiscal quarter through April, helped by recovering consumer confidence in Europe. 

H&M, which unlike Inditex sources most of its products in Asia in US dollars, is expected to see higher sourcing costs in the quarter. 

It said calendar effects pulled down May sales by around 3 percentage points, and quarterly sales by around 2 percentage points.