Fresh Asian foray for H&M

Buoyed by strong growth globally in stores and online, Swedish apparel retailer

H&M is now planning to launch in three more Asian markets.

The company posted a 14 per cent increase in sales in its full year to November 30 and opened 379 new stores – more than one store a day.

In 2015 it plans another 400 new stores, including debuts in Taiwan, Peru, Macau, South Africa and India.

“The greatest expansion will take place in existing markets where there is still great potential to grow further,” said CEO Karl-Johan Persson.

“The most new stores will open in China and the US, but also in other large markets such as Poland and Germany.”

Persson said the strong sales success, matched by an 18 per cent profit increase, reflected “well-received collections for all our brands and continued strong expansion both in stores and online” which had helped it boost market share.

“We created 16,000 new jobs within the H&M Group in 2014 and now have more than 132,000 employees.

“As always, we worked on continuous improvements during the year in order to be a leader in everything we do and the preferred choice for our customers. We have made many long-term investments in IT, online sales, new brands and in broadening the product range.”

Last year, H&M opened its online store in four new markets – China, France, Italy and Spain.  “These openings, combined with further improvements in our online store, have naturally contributed to the year’s good sales development. We will therefore be rolling out H&M’s online store to nine new markets in 2015: Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Switzerland,” Persson said.

last year saw the launch of H&M Sport, and in the autumn its expanded shoe range was gradually launched in selected H&M stores and online.

“As a further step in broadening H&M’s product range, in autumn 2015 we will start the launch of H&M Beauty – a new and broad concept for makeup, body care and hair care with high quality value-for-money products in a specially produced design that we have great belief in.

“H&M Beauty, which will replace our current own-brand cosmetics, will be launched this year in approximately 900 H&M stores in around 40 markets as well as in our online markets,” said Persson.

H&M says sales in the first two months of the new financial year were strong.

“Although the increasingly expensive US dollar will affect our sourcing costs, we will make sure that we always have the best customer offering in each individual market in terms of fashion, quality, price and sustainability, which form the basis of our business idea.”

H & M was founded in Sweden in 1947 and operates more than 3500 stores worldwide under the H&M,Cos, Monki, Weekday, Cheap Monday, & Other Stories as well as H&M Home brands.

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