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|Nasdaq Stockholm: HM B|
|Founded||1947 (as Hennes)|
|Founder||Erling Persson Alexander Popke|
Number of locations
|5,076 (30 November 2019)|
|Stefan Persson (Chairman) |
Helena Helmersson (CEO and president)
|Revenue||US$24.8 billion (2019)|
|US$1.8 billion (2019)|
|US$1.5 billion (2019)|
|Total assets||US$19.3 billion (2019)|
|Total equity||US$6.919 billion (2016)|
|Owner||Stefan Persson (28%)|
Number of employees
|126,376[a] (30 November 2019)|
|Subsidiaries||Monki, Weekday, Cheap Monday, COS, & Other Stories, ARKET|
H&M is a Swedish multinational clothing company headquartered in Stockholm. It is known for its fast-fashion clothing for men, women, teenagers, and children. As of November 2019, H&M operates in 74 countries with over 5,000 stores under the various company brands, with 126,000 full-time equivalent positions. It is the second-largest global clothing retailer, behind Spain-based Inditex (parent company of Zara). Founded by Erling Persson and run by his son Stefan Persson and Helena Helmersson, the company makes its online shopping available in 33 countries.
The company was founded by Erling Persson in 1947, when he opened his first shop in Västerås, Sweden. The shop, called Hennes (Swedish for "hers"), exclusively sold women's clothing. A store was opened in Norway in 1964. In 1968, Persson acquired the hunting apparel retailer Mauritz Widforss in Stockholm, which led to the inclusion of a menswear collection in the product range and the name change to Hennes & Mauritz.
The company was listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange in 1974. Shortly after, in 1976, the first store outside Scandinavia opened in London. H&M continued to expand in Europe and began to retail online in 1998 when bought the domain hm.com from a company called A1 in a non-published domain transaction. The two-letter domain was registered 1997, according to data available via Whois. The opening of its first U.S. store on 31 March 2000, on Fifth Avenue in New York City marked the start of the expansion outside of Europe.
In 2008, the company announced in a press release that it would begin selling home furnishings. Initially distributed through the company's online catalog, there are now H&M Home stores located internationally.[where?] Following expansion in Asia and the Middle East and the launch of concept stores including COS, Weekday, Monki, and Cheap Monday, in 2009 and 2010, branding consultancy Interbrand ranked the company as the twenty-first most-valuable global brand, making it the highest-ranked retailer in the survey. Its worth was estimated at $12–16 billion.
H&M operated 2,325 stores at the end of 2011, and 2,629 stores at the end of August 2012. Its 3,000th store opened in September 2013 in Chengdu, China. In October 2020, H&M announced that they are planning to close 5% of their worldwide stores in 2021, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marketing and collaborations
In November 2004, select 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 2006, the company launched a collection by Stella McCartney and, also in November 2006, by avant-garde Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf. In March 2007, it launched another collaboration designed by the pop star Madonna.
In November 2007, the company launched a collection by Italian designer Roberto Cavalli. Also in 2007, another design with Kylie Minogue was launched in Shanghai, China. In the spring of 2008 the Finnish company Marimekko was selected as guest designer and was followed by Japanese Comme des Garçons in the fall.
For spring and summer 2009, the British designer Matthew Williamson created two exclusive ranges for the company – the first being a collection of women's clothes released in select stores. The second collection saw Williamson branch into menswear for the first time, only in select stores. It featured swimwear for men and women and was available in every company store worldwide. On 14 November 2009, the company released a limited-edition diffusion collection by 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, many garments made of suede and leather, and was available in 200 stores worldwide, including London's Oxford Circus store. Sonia Rykiel also collaborated with the company, by designing a ladies knitwear and lingerie range that was released in selected company stores on 5 December 2009.
For fall 2010, the company collaborated with French fashion house Lanvin. In March 2011, the brand's clothing was featured in an interactive fashion art film by Imagine Fashion called "Decadent Control", starring Roberto Cavalli, Kirsty Hume, Eva Herzigová and Brad Kroenig. For Spring/Summer 2011, the company collaborated with fashion blogger Elin Kling, which was available at select stores only.
In June 2011, H&M announced a collaboration with Versace that was released on 19 November. Versace also planned a Spring collaboration with the company that was only available in countries with online sales. Similar to previous collaborations, Versace agreed to let H&M use its name for a previously agreed-upon sum, without actually having a role in the design process. In November 2011, H&M announced a collaboration plan with Marni, that launched in March 2012. The campaign was directed by director Sofia Coppola.
On 4 October 2012, Japanese Vogue editor Anna Dello Russo launched an accessories collection at H&M as Paris Fashion Week drew to an end. The collection was stocked in 140 H&M stores worldwide and also sold through the website On 12 June 2012, H&M confirmed that it would launch a collaboration with avant-garde label Maison Martin Margiela for a fall rollout. The Maison Martin Margiela collection for H&M hit stores on 15 November 2012.
Beyoncé was the face of H&M in summer 2013. Her campaign, which began in May 2013 was entitled "Mrs. Carter in H&M", and drew heavily on Knowles' personal style. The singer also included the track "Standing on the Sun" from her fifth studio album as the campaign soundtrack. Isabel Marant was a collaboration designer for fall 2013 and for the first time made a few men's pieces to accompany the women's collection. The collaboration was sold out very quickly in cities across the globe, and was heavily anchored in sales online as well.
Alexander Wang was announced as a collaboration to be released 6 November 2014 across the world to a select 250 stores. The announcement came during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California and was be the first collaboration with an American designer.
Balmain was announced as the next collaboration with H&M. The collection was released on 5 November 2015. The announcement came from Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing's Instagram page. The 2015 Christmas campaign was in collaboration with the pop star Katy Perry, who also sang the commercial soundtrack "'Every Day Is A Holiday".
In November 2016, H&M released a designer line in collaboration with Kenzo. That year the company released an annual holiday movie directed by Wes Anderson as part of the company's Christmas advertising campaign. Titled "Come Together", the short film starred Adrien Brody as a train conductor who saves Christmas after a blizzard delays the train's arrival, making the few passengers on board miss part of the holiday.
In February 2017, Swedish singer Zara Larsson designed a "playful, young, empowering and little glamorous" collection with H&M. After 20 years, Naomi Campbell came back to collaborate for a global female empowerment commercial spot with the company. She wore clothes that blur the line between masculine and feminine and in the spot-video she also lip-synced "Wham Rap (Enjoy What You Do)" by Wham!.
In 2018, the flagship New York City location trialed an in-store "Voice Interactive Mirror" developed by Microsoft and Ombori. The mirror was voice and facial recognition activated, and had an in-mirror personal shopping assistant as well as encouraged customers to sign up for newsletters and scan QR codes. A German CPG news source, Lebensmittelzeitung, concluded that "86% of customers who took a selfie ended up scanning the QR code and 10% of [customers] also registered for the newsletter." In April 2018 the brand also collaborated with the designer Jeremy Scott and Moschino.
In July 2019, H&M collaborated with designer Richard Allan to revive the spirit of the swinging sixties.
In September 2019, H&M halted its leather purchases from Brazil in response to 2019 Amazon rainforest wildfires. The company issued an email statement: "The ban will be active until there are credible assurance systems in place to verify that the leather does not contribute to environmental harm in the Amazon". The company imports only a small fraction of its leather needs from the country.
In March 2021, the brand announced its collaborative partner for 2021 will be Irish designer Simone Rocha. The daughter of designer John Rocha, Simone is a regular at London Fashion Week and was named ‘Womenswear Designer of the Year’ in 2016 at the British Fashion Awards. Rocha's designs are famed for their femininity which is also shown in a H&M campaign film shot by Tyler Mitchell.
In April 2021, H&M announced that actress Maisie Williams would be joining the brand as a global sustainability ambassador to help front the company's campaign to use only recycled or sustainably sourced materials by 2030. The first initiative fronted by the actress will also collaborate with the video game Animal Crossing, with Williams being transformed into a digital game character to teach the virtues of recycling.
In May 2021, H&M announced a temporary rental clothing service that allows men to rent suits for up to 24 hours for job interviews. It began in the UK and was also being tested in the United States.
In addition to the H&M brand, the company consists of five individual brands with separate concepts. Q4 2016 saw the hoarding of a new H&M concept in The Dubai Mall come up, labelled 'H&M Details'.
COS launched its flagship store on London's Regent Street in March 2007 with a catwalk show at the Royal Academy. Its concept is encompassed by minimalist style inspired by architecture, graphics, and design. It specialises in modern clothing pieces for men and women that are less trend-oriented than other similarly priced labels. COS makes clothing that can be worn beyond the season. COS has 197 stores in 34 countries in Europe, Asia, North America, Australia and the Middle East and currently retails online to 19 markets via cosstores.com.
& Other Stories
& Other Stories launched in Spring 2013, with seven stores opening throughout Europe. Its Regent Street store opened on 8 March 2013, with other locations in Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, Milan, Paris and Stockholm. & Other Stories offers women's clothing, shoes, bags, accessories, and beauty products, with a focus on high quality throughout a wide price range. In March 2016, it collaborated with the designer label Rodarte. & Other Stories has 46 stores in 12 countries, as well as e-commerce in 14 at stories.com (formerly at otherstories.com).
The first ARKET store was opened in Regent Street in August 2017, having been in preparations since June 2015. The brand is labeled "a modern-day market" and houses a line known as the "archive", in which each item is known by a nine-digit code organised into department, category, product, and material. ARKET also sells children's clothing and homewares, and has an in-store café.
In 2008, H&M purchased 60 percent of shares in the Swedish fashion company FaBric Scandinavien AB and bought the remaining shares in 2010 with a price totaling SEK552 million ($62.3 million). The company's three brands- Cheap Monday, Monki, and Weekday- continue to be run as separate concepts.
Cheap Monday, known for its distinctive skull logo, was a full fashion brand launched in 2004. The brand was available from many retailers worldwide as well as its own stores and e-commerce site but closed in 2019.
Monki is "a wild and crazy international retail concept that believes that it needs to fight ordinary and boost imagination with an experience out of the ordinary". The brand sells fashion for young women in stores in 13 markets and is available online in 18 markets at monki.com.
Weekday, styled as WEEKDAY, 'carries in-house brands such as MTWTFSS WEEKDAY and Weekday Collection as well as external brands. The brand has stores in 9 markets and is available online in 18 markets at weekday.com and in 140 markets at ASOS.com.
In August 2011, nearly 300 workers passed out in one week at a Cambodian factory supplying H&M. Fumes from chemicals, poor ventilation, malnutrition, and even "mass hysteria" have all been blamed for making workers ill. The minimum wage in the country is the equivalent of $66 (£42) a month, a level that human rights groups say is not even half that required to meet basic needs.
The same year, Bangladeshi and international labor groups put forth a detailed safety proposal that entailed the establishment of independent inspections of garment factories. The plan called for inspectors to have the power to close unsafe factories. The proposal entailed a legally binding contract between suppliers, customers, and unions. At a meeting in 2011 in Dhaka, major European and North American retailers, including H&M, rejected the proposal. Further efforts by unions to advance the proposal after numerous and deadly factory fires have been rejected.
The Guardian wrote that in a conscious action sustainability report for 2012, H&M published a list of factories supplying 95% of its garments. Most retailers and brands do not share this information, citing commercial confidentiality as a reason. This contributes to the trend of corporations leaning toward ethically transparent supply chains.
On 2 January 2013, The Ecologist reported allegations by Anti-Slavery International that H&M was continuing its association with the Uzbek government in exploiting child and adult forced labour as cotton harvesters in Uzbekistan.
After the April 2013 Savar building collapse, the company and other retailers signed on to the Accord on Factory and Building Safety in Bangladesh. On 19 May 2013, a textile factory that produced apparel for H&M in Phnom Penh, Cambodia collapsed injuring several people. The incident has raised concerns regarding industrial safety regulations.
On 25 November 2013, H&M's global head of sustainability committed that H&M, as the world's second-largest clothing retailer, would aim to pay all textile workers "living wage" by 2018, stating that governments are responding too slowly to poor working conditions in Bangladesh among other Asian countries where many clothing retailers source a majority if not all of their garments. Wages were increased in Bangladesh from 3,000 takas ($40) to 5,300 takas ($70) a month in late 2013.
In September 2015, CleanClothes.org, an NGO involved in garment labor working conditions, reported on a lack of specific fire safety renovations in H&M suppliers' factories.
In June 2016, SumOfUs launched a campaign to pressure H&M to honor the commitment to protect Bangladesh's garment workers which it had signed onto following the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh in 2013, which killed over 1100 people, mostly garment workers, in unsafe factories housed in an eight-story building not designed for factories. SumOfUs alleged that "H&M is drastically behind schedule in fixing the safety hazards its workers have to face every day."
In February 2017, The Guardian reported children were employed to make H&M products in Myanmar and were paid 13p (about 15 cents US) an hour – half the full legal minimum wage. In September 2020, amid international allegations over the use of Uyghur forced labour in Xinjiang, H&M published a statement saying that it had stopped buying cotton from growers in Xinjiang, stating that it was "deeply concerned by reports from civil society organizations and media that include accusations of forced labor and discrimination of ethno-religious minorities".
Boycotts by China
In March 2021, after the EU, UK, US, Canada's joint sanctions against China over reports of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, H&M's stance avoiding forced labor in Xinjiang and claim of not going to use cotton produced there was found and criticized by the Communist Youth League of China on its official Weibo page, in a post stating "Spreading rumors to boycott Xinjiang cotton, while trying to make a profit in China? Wishful thinking!". The viral post spread across mainland Chinese social media, leading to H&M facing significant criticism among Chinese social media users. On 24 March 2021, H&M became the first fashion brand to be targeted in China, with its products removed from Chinese e-commerce platforms such as Pinduoduo, JD.com and Alibaba, its mobile application removed from Chinese app stores, and rideshare platform DiDi blocking customers from requesting H&M stores as their destinations. Two of H&M's brand ambassadors in China, Huang Xuan and Victoria Song, announced they were no longer collaborating with H&M.
Chinese state media outlet China Global Television Network countered the statements against Xinjiang cotton with a video showing automation in cotton-picking and local Uyghurs claiming that the industry brought high earnings. On 26 March, the United States condemned the China-backed boycotts, with its Department of Commerce stating that the United States "has taken strong actions to stop China from profiting off of its human-rights abuses in Xinjiang and to stop imports of products made with forced labor in China." On 31 March, H&M responded with a statement vowing to rebuild trust in China and serve its customers in a "respectful way". H&M reported sales in China had fallen by approximately 23% for the second quarter of 2021 (compared to the same period in the last fiscal year). According to a report  more than half a million forced to pick cotton in Xinjiang.
- On 6 January 2010, it was reported that unsold or refunded clothing and other items in one New York City store were cut up before being discarded, presumably to prevent resale or use.
- On 24 January 2012, the company was reported to have stolen the work of a UK-based artist, Tori LaConsay, using it on multiple items without compensating her.
- In August 2013, the Swedish fashion chain withdrew faux-leather headdresses from its Canadian stores after consumers complained the items, part of the company's "summer music festival" collection, were insulting to Canada's Aboriginal peoples.
- On 6 November 2015, the H&M South Africa division was accused of racism for its lack of black models in their photoshoots, later stating that white models convey a more "positive Image."
- On 8 January 2018, H&M showcased on their official United Kingdom website a black child model wearing a green hoodie reading, "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle", which sparked controversy, especially in the United States, due to the use of the term "monkey" on a black person. In response, Canadian and American singers such as The Weeknd and G-Eazy boycotted the company by ending their partnerships with it over the image. H&M later released an apology: "This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended." The mother of the model urged people to "stop crying wolf," deeming it "an unnecessary issue." After the allegations, H&M stores were vandalized and looted in South Africa. In response, H&M temporarily closed stores there.
- On 13 July 2019, H&M docked the pay and suspended several unionized staff in three of its stores in New Zealand for wearing 'Living wage' stickers, as part of a wider industrial dispute.
- On 9 December 2020, Sweden's Equality Ombudsman (DO) started an investigation into H&M following a media report accusing it of racism in Swedish stores.
Starting in February 2013, H&M offered patrons a voucher in exchange for used garments. Donated garments was to be processed by I:CO, a retailer that repurposes and recycles used clothing with the goal of creating a zero waste economy. The initiative is similar to a clothes-collection voucher program launched in April 2012 by Marks & Spencer in partnership with Oxfam.
In April 2014, H&M joined Zara and other apparel companies in changing their supply chain to avoid endangered forests. The company teamed with Canopy, a nonprofit, to remove endangered and ancient forests from their dissolvable pulp supply chain for their viscose and rayon fabrics.
In August 2015, the H&M Foundation announced that it will award the Global Change Award, a million-euro annual prize, to advance recycling technology and techniques within the fashion industry.
In 2020, the company announced it aims to be climate positive by 2040 and is investing in projects to reduce the carbon footprint of goods in transport along its supply chain.
The H&M Foundation is a nonprofit foundation that was established in 2014 to fund projects that improve humanitarian and environmental issues within the fashion industry. The Persson family, the founders and owners of H&M, originally invested $180 million in the foundation. One of the foundation's projects includes the Green Machine, a recycling technology that would allow clothing to be recycled similar to how aluminum cans are recycled. Since 2013, the family has made contributions to the foundation, donating SEK1.1 billion (US$154 million) to it. According to the OECD, H&M Foundation's financing for 2019 development increased by 7% to US$17 million.
- Total full-time equivalent positions; H&M reports do not publish total full-time, part-time and casual employment levels.
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