H&M to enter new markets after profit rise

Swedish clothing giant Hennes and Mauritz (H&M) on Thursday reported that net profits had continued to rise last year and announced plans to expand into three new countries and boost its online business.

H&M to enter new markets after profit rise
Chinese customers queue in the rain outside H&M's store in Beijing. Photo: H&M
Buoyed by a hike in sales, the company, whose fiscal year runs from December 2014 to November 2015, said net profit rose by four percent to 20.9 billion kronor (2.3 billion euros, $2.5 billion).
However, Europe's unusually mild autumn weather held back fourth-quarter trade, when net profit fell 11 percent, the company said in a statement.
H&M said it planned more than 400 new stores for the coming financial year, mostly in markets where the group is already present.
“New Zealand, Cyprus and Puerto Rico are planned to become new H&M markets,” he said. “In addition, H&M plans to offer e-commerce in a further nine existing H&M markets.” 


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.  

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