HENNES & MAURITZ
‘Fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way’ “With H&M offering online shopping in 35 markets out of the 64 markets that we are present in, online platform is a natural expansion of our business. We see a great potential for future growth
The fashion brand Hennes & Mauritz, or H&M, is a part of the H&M group that started with a single womenswear store in Västerås, Sweden, in 1947. The company was established by Erling Persson, who only sold women’s clothing, thus he named his store Hennes, Swedish for ‘hers’. The idea was to create a fashion line for women that was fresh, changed frequently and was also affordable. In 1968, Erling Persson acquired the store and catalog of a Stockholm store that sold hunting equipment by the name of Mauritz Widforss.
This acquisition also included men’s clothing in the inventory and so, Persson expanded into menswear. Accordingly, he renamed the store Hennes & Mauritz, which was later abbreviated to H&M. The group has come a long way since its inception; today, it has more than 4,379 stores in 64 markets with six, clearly defined fashion brands like H&M, COS, Monki, & Other Stories, Weekday and Cheap Monday. The company employs more than 148,000 people globally and works on a wholly owned subsidiary model. H&M is the first company to introduce a clothing collecting initiative worldwide with the purpose of recycling clothes to help reduce the amount of natural resources needed to produce new garments. Under this drive, the customers can handover their used garments in stores and get rewarded with a coupon. H&M formally entered India in October 2015 when they opened their first flagship store at Delhi’s Select Citywalk Mall but the company has had an association with the Indian market even before that. Since H&M does not own any factories, it works with around 800 independent suppliers primarily in Asia and Europe. Approximately 60% of the production takes place in Asia and India is one of their most important markets. H&M is present in India since 1993 and today works with over 100 suppliers.
Though H&M considered India as a very significant market, doors opened for them only in 2012. This was the year when the Government of India approved the reforms for companies entering through the single-brand retail route to have full ownership of their operations in India, unlike the initial clause of limiting foreign ownership to 51%. This meant that H&M could have full control on its merchandising, branding, promotions, pricing, etc. – this was in sync with its global expansion strategy.
The popularity of the retailer can be gauged from the fact that in its maiden year of operation and with only four operational stores, the global fashion giant announced sales of USD 28.5 million during year 2015 to March 2016 – a record unheard of in the retail apparel space.