24 March 2016 06:35:12 IST

For H&M, India is a highly anticipated market with much retail potential: Country Manager

‘Our concept is fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way’

Swedish international retailer H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB, known for its sustainable fashion apparel, shoes and accessories for men, women, teenagers and kids is all set to open its first store in Bengaluru on March 25. The first H&M store opened in India in Delhi last October, followed by a second store in Delhi in December. The H&M Group has grown from a single women’s wear shop in Vasteras, Sweden to six independent brands and 3,900 stores in 61 markets around the world with sales of $25 billion in 2015.

In an interaction with BusinessLine , Janne Einola, Country Manager for H&M Hennes & Mauritz Retail, India, talked about the brand proposition, expansion plans and investment numbers.

What is the brand positioning of H&M - fast fashion, premium, mass premium or luxury?

H&M sells a broad and varied range of inspiring fashion that offers great value for money.

We strive to meet demand from customers of all ages and styles by offering different concepts. Fashion, design and sustainability should not be a question of price. H&M’s business concept is: Fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way.

What do you mean by sustainable fashion?

Of the thousands of tonnes of textiles thrown away every year, 95 per cent could be re-worn or recycled.

We were the first fashion company to launch a global garment collection initiative where you can hand in any clothes you no longer want. That way, we can reduce waste and give old products a new life. We have already made some new collections from worn clothes – many of which came via our own garment collecting service.

There are three ways to repurpose unwanted garments – re-wear, reuse and recycle. Eventually, we’ll close the loop on textiles so nothing ever goes to waste.

H&M is seen as a competitor to GAP and Zara, both of which are already in India. Which global/national brand does H&M compete with in India?

In every individual market, H&M comes up against competitors from international fashion firms, local chains, department stores and independent retailers.

H&M sees itself as its own biggest competitor, we are continuously assessing ourselves against our previous performance and the objective is always to surprise our customers and exceed their expectations of us. India is H&M’s 60{+t}{+h} and highly anticipated market with so much potential in retail.

How many stores are you opening in the next 12 months and what is H&M’s investment commitment to India?

The third H&M store will be opening at Ambience Mall, Gurgaon on March 19, Bengaluru will be our fourth store. Apart from this, we will be opening stores in Noida, Mohali and Mumbai in 2016. We see great potential to open many stores in India. We are looking for stores above 25,000 sq ft and our expansion strategy is to always open at the best business location in a city or shopping centre. We have received an approval of Single Brand Retail Trade and have proposed to invest €100 million in India.

India is a price sensitive market, have you catered to that?

With H&M’s business concept of fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way, we work at every stage to achieve the best price for garments by having no middle men in the buying process, having an efficient logistics system and being cost conscious at every stage. The entry price point for garments starts at ₹399 and goes up to ₹14,999.