Fast fashion brand H&M is optimistic about India business. Although the world’s second biggest retailer is closing stores globally, it is planning to open new ones in India; both online and offlline, reports Live Mint. Led by Janne Einola, so far, the brand has opened 48 stores in 24 cities besides launching its own portal and its retail on Myntra.
Physical expansion despite headwinds
Before COVID-19, H&M was opening one store every month in India. Now, the brand may go a bit slower but expansion will continue, says Eionala. It is currently opening a new store in Lucknow and plans to open more stores next year. Some physical stores are still closed due to local lockdowns while remaining are operating with restricted hours. The brand’s revenues from physical stores up to August 2020 declined 31 per cent while net sales declined 50 per cent. Yet, the brand plans to continue opening physical stores in India.
Focus on kids’ and casual wear
The brand also plans to focus on online operations and as well as kids wear, says Eionala. During the lockdown, H&M saw growing demand for casual wear, lounge wear and basics. Eionala says, this trend was common for both men’s and women’s apparels. However, women are showing stronger interest for casual and lounge wear, she adds.
COVID-19 has made consumers conscious about their consumption habits. According to her, changing consumption patterns will determine future course for the industry. There will be growing emphasis on sustainability and H&M will benefit particularly since it has been focusing on sustainable operations for years.
Despite pessimistic industry outlook, Eionala is confident about the brand’s future in India. It has opened almost 50 stores in the past five years and plans to open more stores over the next five years. The brand plans to also launch a loyalty program called Hello Member in the country for better conversations and personalized shopping experiences.
Besides the flagship brand, H&M also plans to launch other brands from its stable like COS, Monki and H&M home in India. It is waiting for the right opportunity to launch these brands and hopes current FDI rules support its India investment plans.