H&M opens first Japanese outlet

Swedish high-street clothing giant Hennes and Mauritz (H&M) opened its first store in Japan on Saturday. H&M's Tokyo store signals the firm's entry into one of world's most competitive casual fashion markets.

H&M’s store is located in the Ginza shopping district of Tokyo and the opening attracted more than 3,000 people, mostly women in their 20s and 30s, ahead of a

ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday.

Japan thereby becomes the 30th country in which H&M has retail outlets bringing its total to 1,600 shops and 800 production bases worldwide.

Rolf Eriksen, chief executive of the Stockholm-based company, recently told Japanese media that he plans to expand outlets across the country.

H&M has already decided to open two more stores in the capital’s leading fashion districts of Harajuku and Shibuya.

With the debut in Japan of H&M, renowned for its low price but fashionable clothing, competition in the affordable Japanese fashion industry is expected to be further intensified, observers say.

Rivals Gap Inc. and Zara of the Inditex Group have already entered into the Japanese market, where local clothing giant Uniqlo is the market leader.