H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (operating as H&M), is a Swedish clothing company, known for its fast fashion clothing offerings for women, men, teenagers and children. H&M has around 2,000 stores in 37 different countries and employs around 76,000 people.
The company was established in Västerås, Sweden, in 1947 by Erling Persson though at the time it only sold women's clothing and was called Hennes, Swedish for "hers." In 1968, Persson acquired the premises and inventory of a Stockholm hunting equipment store named Mauritz Widforss. Included in the inventory was a supply of men's clothing, prompting Persson to expand into menswear. Accordingly, he renamed the store Hennes & Mauritz, later abbreviated to H&M. Erling's son Stefan became CEO in 1990 and Chairman of the Board in 1998. Today the majority of H&M's clothing is manufactured in Asia and Europe including China, Turkey, India, Bangladesh and Egypt.
H&M's first store abroad was opened in Norway. Then from 1964 onwards, H&M embarked upon a major expansion programme many further stores in Europe, including Portugal, the UK, Denmark, Switzerland and Germany. In the 1990s, the first stores opened in Finland, France, Belgium, Austria, Spain and the Netherlands. H&M has continued to expand its business and today H&M has an extensive network throughout much of Europe.
H&M opened its first US store in New York on 5th Avenue and 51st Street in March 2000. There are now 9 additional stores in Manhattan alone. As of January 2009, H&M has at least 169 individual stores in the United States. H&M opened its first Canadian store in March 2004. There are currently 48 stores in Canada, in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and British Columbia.
H&M opened its first Asian store (also H&M's first franchise) in Dubai in 2006. Kuwait was then followed by Dubai and opened at Salmiya at first. The two first Israeli stores opened in Tel Aviv and in Jerusalem in March 2010, more stores expected to open in more cities along Israel. H&M expanded into East Asia in March 2007, with its first store opening in Central Hong Kong on March 10, 2007. The first location in mainland China was opened in 2007. The first Japanese store was opened in Ginza on September 13, 2008, while a second store was opened in Harajuku in November 2008. Another store was opened in the Shibuya shopping district on September 19, 2009. H&M has signed an agreement to open its first store in South Korea. The store will be located in the best business location in Myungdong in Seoul and is planned to open during the spring of 2010
On March 13, 2009, H&M launched their first shop in Russia in the Metropolis mall in Moscow, near Moscow Metro Voykovskaya station. And already in March 20, 2009 launched second shop in "MEGA" mall in Khimki. On October 22, 2009 third H&M store opened it's door in "MEGA" mall in Belaya Dacha. On 18 October, 2009 was launched a shop in Europe's largest shopping centre "Golden Babylon" in Rostokino.
H&M also has plans to expand into South America with a focus on Brazil and Argentina, though a specific date was not disclosed.
Although there are currently no H&M stores in Australia, in April 2007, pop superstar Kylie Minogue teamed up with H&M to introduce a swimwear line called, “H&M loves Kylie”, featuring a theme of Australia. “When we think of Australia and glamour, we think Kylie, who is such a stylish person,” H&M design head Margareta van den Bosch said in a statement. It has been suggested that a barrier to entry into Australia (and other Southern Hemisphere nations) is that these countries seasons are opposite to the Northern Hemipshere.
In November 2004, selected H&M stores offered an exclusive collection by fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. The press reported large crowds and that the initial inventories in the larger cities were sold out within an hour, although the clothes were still available in less fashion-sensitive areas until the company redistributed them to meet with demand. In November 2005, the chain launched a collection by Stella McCartney and, in November 2006, by avant-garde Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf. H&M launched another collaboration with Madonna in March 2007, designed by the popstar. In June 2007 the company worked with game developers Maxis to create a stuff pack for the latter's The Sims 2 computer game, H&M Fashion Stuff In November 2007, the chain launched a collection by Italian designer Roberto Cavalli. It was reported that the clothing sold out very quickly. Also in 2007, another design with Kylie Minogue was launched in Shanghai, China. In the fall of 2008 the Japanese company Comme des Garçons was selected as guest designer. For spring and summer 2009, the British designer Matthew Williamson created 2 exclusive ranges for H&M. The first being a collection of women's clothes released in selected stores. The second collecting saw Williamson branch into menswear for the first time. The 2nd collection also featured swimwear for men and women and was available in every H&M store worldwide. From November 14 H&M released a limited edition diffusion collection with Jimmy Choo featuring shoes and handbags, ranging from £30 to £170 including a range of men's shoes. The collection also included clothing designed by Choo for the first time, many garments made from suede and leather, and was available in 200 stores worldwide including London's Oxford Circus store. Sonia Rykiel is the latest guest designer to collaborate with H&M, after having designed a ladies knitwear and lingerie range to be released in selected H&M stores on December 5, 2009.The next collaboration Shiatzy Chen for H&M collection will launch in November 2010.
H&M describes its mission as “Fashion and quality at the best price”. H&M's goals for 2008 have been to intensify the sales in the existing stores, as well as to increase the number of new stores by 10% to 15% per year. In the year 2007 193 new stores opened its doors and 16 closed. Expansion and maintaining of financial stability are H&M's strategic goals. In the last 5 years the revenues rose by 73% and the earnings per share increased by 139%.
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