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Coming soon: an H&M store in South Africa

Swedish cheap'n'chic fashion giant H&M will open its first store in South Africa in 2015, its first foray into sub-Saharan Africa, the company announced on Thursday.

Coming soon: an H&M store in South Africa

H&M said it had signed a contract for a store in Johannesburg, but it was also looking into opening in Cape Town as well and therefore it could not say which store would open first.

“We’re still in the early stages … but there will be several stores,” H&M spokeswoman Camilla Emilsson-Falk told AFP.

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The company said it saw great potential in the South African market but refused to disclose any details.

“We see great potential for further expansion in this region. We look forward to bringing fashion and quality at the best price to the customers in South Africa,” H&M’s chief executive Karl-Johan Persson said in a statement.

The first store that opens will be a full concept flagship store, the company said.

H&M’s only other stores on the African continent are in Egypt and Morocco.

The company said it had opened some 100 new stores in the second quarter, bringing its total number of outlets worldwide to 2,908.

IN PICTURES: More scenes from Mercedes Benz Stockholm Fashion Week

Using an average annual exchange rate, H&M remained the biggest clothing company in 2012 with its sales edging out Spanish competitor Inditex, which owns Zara.

But H&M risks losing its number one spot this year to Inditex, which has twice as many stores, is growing faster and is more profitable.

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AFP/The Local/og

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H&M

H&M competitor to sponsor Sweden’s Olympic team

Six months after establishing itself in Stockholm, Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo has announced it will sponsor Sweden’s athletes at the 2020 Olympics.

H&M competitor to sponsor Sweden's Olympic team
Anna Hasselborg of Sweden's curling team tries out new kit supplied for the country's athletes by Uniqlo. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The clothing chain, one of the world’s fastest-growing retail companies, is also set to open more stores in the Scandinavian country.

“Swedes are so sophisticated and warm-hearted,” Uniqlo Europe CEO Taku Morikawa said, stressing how welcome his company has been made to feel.

Morikawa was in Sweden to present the partnership between Uniqlo and the Swedish Olympic Committee at an event at Uniqlo’s store on Hamngatan in Stockholm.

Sweden’s athletes wore teamwear supplied by H&M at the last two Olympic Games.

The Stockholm store, Uniqlo’s first in the Nordic region, opened its doors in August 2018. An expansion is now planned on the Swedish market, although Morikawa declined to reveal where.

“We definitely have plans to open more stores here,” he said.

A store will also open in Danish capital Copenhagen in the coming spring as Uniqlo’s holding company Fast Retailing continues its global expansion.

Sales figures in Sweden’s clothing retail sector have seen a downward trend in recent years, with an exception in 2015.

H&M is usually cited as one of Uniqlo’s main competitors.

The impact of a new player on an already-competitive market is difficult to predict, according to the Swedish Trade Federation (Svensk Handel).

“Locally, competition is sharpened, but competition is already fierce. I would be inclined to say that this type of partly new concept store can, instead, help to revitalise the physical retail sector for clothing,” the association’s head economist Johan Davidson said.  

READ ALSO: H&M profit down sharply despite rise in online sales

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