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Hennes & Mauritz AB (Swedish pronunciation: [²hɛnːɛs ɔ ˈma.ʊrɪts]; H&M [²hoː.ɛm]) is a Swedish multinational clothing-retail company known for its fast-fashion clothing for men, women, teenagers and children. H&M and its associated companies operate in 62 countries with over 4,500 stores and as of 2015[update] employed around 132,000 people. It is the second-largest global clothing retailer, just behind Spain-based Inditex (parent company of Zara). The company has a significant online presence, with online shopping available in 33 countries:
|Traded as||Nasdaq Stockholm: HM B|
|Founded||1947 (as Hennes)|
Number of locations
|4,958 (as of 28 February 2019)|
|Stefan Persson (Chairman) |
Karl-Johan Persson (President and CEO)
|Revenue||US$25.191 billion (2016)|
|US$2.692 billion (2016)|
|US$2.106 billion (2016)|
|Total assets||US$11.139 billion (2016)|
|Total equity||US$6.919 billion (2016)|
|Owner||Stefan Persson (28%)|
Number of employees
|148,000 (December 2015)|
|Subsidiaries||Monki, Weekday, Cheap Monday, COS, & Other Stories, ARKET|
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, 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 it was able to buy the domain hm.com from a company called A1 in a non-published domain transaction. The two-letter domain was registered in the early 1990s, but data on the first registration is lost. The opening of the first U.S. store on 31 March 2000, on Fifth Avenue in New York 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.
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.
Marketing and collaborations
In November 2004, selected company 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 March 2007, it launched another collaboration designed by the pop star Madonna. In June 2007 the company worked with game developers Maxis to create a stuff pack for the latter's The Sims 2 computer game, H&M Fashion Stuff.
In November 2007, the company launched a collection by Italian designer Roberto Cavalli. It was reported that the clothing sold out very quickly. 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 selected stores. The second collection saw Williamson branch into menswear for the first time, only in selected stores. The second collection also 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 for the first time, many garments made from 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.
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 selected 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 H&M that was only available in countries with online sales. Similar to previous collaborations, Versace agreed to let H&M use the renowned name of the company 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 award-winning director Sofia Coppola.
Lana Del Rey was the face of the fully plotted music video for the 2012 global summer collection, where she also sang a cover of “Blue Velvet”. 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 H&M 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" form her 5th studio album as the campaign soundtrack. Isabel Marant was a collaboration designer for Fall 2013 and for the first time made a men's collection 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 will 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 H&M released an annual holiday movie directed by Wes Anderson. Titled “Come Together”, the short film stars 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, Zara Larsson designed a "playful, young, empowering and little glamorous" collection with H&M. After 20 years, Naomi Campbell come back to collaborate for a global female empowerment commercial spot with H&M. 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 September 2019, H&M halted it's leather purchase from Brazil in response to 2019 Amazon Rainforest Wildfires. The company issued an email statement on the halt, "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 Brazil.
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, is a full fashion brand launched in 2004. The brand is available from many retailers worldwide as well as its own stores and e-commerce site cheapmonday.com.
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 200 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 Cambodia is the equivalent of just $66 (£42) a month, a level that human rights groups say is not even half that required to meet basic needs.
Bangladeshi and international labor groups in 2011 put forth a detailed safety proposal which 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 actions 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.
On 2 January 2013, The Ecologist reported allegations by Anti-Slavery International that H&M is 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 H&M 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, will 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 honour 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-storey 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."
- 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 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 had been accused with racism for lack of black models in their photoshoots, later stating that white models convey a more "positive Image" than that of black models.
- On 8 January 2018, H&M showcased on their official United Kingdom website a picture of a young black child wearing a green hoodie reading, "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle," which sparked controversy, notably in the United States due to the cognition of "monkey" being used to describe a black person, though the term "cheeky monkey" is often used in the UK to refer to a little child regardless of race. In response, singers such as The Weeknd and G-Eazy boycotted the company by ending their partnerships with H&M 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 allegation of racism, H&M stores were vandalized and looted in South Africa. In response, H&M temporarily closed stores in South Africa.
- On 13 July 2019, H&M docked the pay and suspended several union staff in three of its stores in New Zealand because they were wearing 'Living Wage' stickers, as part of a wider industrial dispute.
Starting in February 2013, H&M will offer patrons a voucher in exchange for used garments. Donated garments will 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. H&M teamed with Canopy, a non-profit, to remove endangered and ancient forests from their dissolvable pulp supply chain for their viscose and rayon fabrics.
In August 2015, H&M announced that it will award a million-euro annual prize to advance recycling technology and techniques.
The H&M Foundation is a non-profit foundation which was established in order to implement positive change and improve living standards, such as education for children, worldwide access to clean water, strengthening women on a global scale, and being environmentally aware. It is privately funded by the Persson Family, founders, and owners of H&M. Since 2013, the Persson Family has made huge contributions to the foundation, donating SEK1.1 billion (US$154 million) to the H&M Foundation.
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