H&M Scouts Po­ten­tial Sup­pli­ers in South Africa

Africa Outlook - - News -

H&M is look­ing at South Africa as a po­ten­tial sup­plier, with ex­ec­u­tives from the world’s sec­ond largest cloth­ing re­tailer vis­it­ing some of the coun­try’s main ci­ties.

South Africa’s Govern­ment helped to bro­ker the H&M visit as part of ef­forts to boost the tex­tile sec­tor which has been hit hard by Chi­nese cloth­ing im­ports that led to fac­tory clo­sures and thou­sands of job losses.

H&M faced protests in South Africa in Jan­uary, 2018 this year over an ad­vert which fea­tured a black child wear­ing a sweat­shirt with the slo­gan “coolest mon­key in the jun­gle”.

H&M apol­o­gised for the ad and re­moved it from its mar­ket­ing.

Amelia-May Woud­stra, H&M spoke­woman in South Africa, said com­pany ex­ec­u­tives would visit Cape Town, Johannesburg and Dur­ban, but that the as­sess­ment, which would con­sider part­ner­ships with lo­cal sup­pli­ers, was still in its early stages.

“We have started with an as­sess­ment of South Africa as a po­ten­tial sourc­ing mar­ket,” she said.

H&M, which has 18 stores in South Africa, cur­rently im­ports all its cloth­ing into the coun­try, so a de­ci­sion to pro­duce clothes lo­cally would be a big boost for the do­mes­tic tex­tile in­dus­try, which com­petes with ri­vals such as Ethiopia and Swaziland.

“If H&M were to source gar­ments in South Africa, it would be a huge vote of con­fi­dence in the sec­tor. We def­i­nitely have the ca­pac­ity lo­cally to sup­ply them and it can be turned on par­tic­u­larly quickly with ba­sic com­mod­ity items such as un­der­wear,” a tex­tile in­dus­try source added.

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