Swedish fast-fashion retailer Hennes and Mauritz AB (H&M), 30th on the Forbes list of Most Valuable Global Brands, opened its first 25,000 sq. ft. store in Delhi’s Select Citywalk mall on October 2, 2015, amid much fanfare.
With fans and shopaholics queuing up 24 hours in advance, the retailer became the talk of the town at least a month before the launch day thanks to hoardings at several sites across the city. The company operates 3,900 stores across 59 markets, generating around $22 billion in revenue.
H&M’s India strategy is to focus on pricing and sustainable, affordable fashion, and the Global CEO Karl-Johan Persson sees “the country (India) is a very promising market”. With India, where the brand has entered alone unlike other International brands, the fashion retailer has increased their footprint to 60 markets. Already in talks to pan out a second store launch before the end of year in Vasant Kunj, H&M’s main focus is its customers and not sale and budget numbers.
The Retailer magazine caught up with Karl-Johan Erling Goran Persson, CEO and president, H&M during the India launch and talked on the company’s India strategy, competitive pricing and future plans.
H&M is all geared up for India. They’ve painted the city red and have built a lot of traction already. The customers seem to be very excited! What is going to be H&M’s strategy in India?
Going by the reaction of our customers here, I think it looks very promising. But, I can’t really say anything right now. It is too early. We have had people waiting to get into the store as early as 24 hours ago. I also think we have a very good offering which is why there are so many customers queuing up a day ahead of the official launch. So far, the customers are looking extremely happy. I am optimistic about the future in India!
What is H&M’s pricing strategy? In comparison with markets in other Asian countries, how are your products priced in India?
It’s the same in all markets around the world. We are value for money and never compromise on quality and fashion! Regardless of location, we want to give our customers a fantastic offer when it comes to quality, sustainability and fashion, but of course also the pricing. And the same goes for our current entry into the Indian market. So far the customers’ reaction has been very positive; around the world they find our pricing very amazing and it is right in the India market also.
What is your sales target and how much time would it take for the brand to achieve it?
We never set that expectation! We do set our budget for every market but that is never the number one priority for us. The most important thing for us is to do really well, to treat our customers really nicely and to have a good product offering. That’s all! And I believe if we do that well, the selling will happen and the sales will come.
How many stores are you looking to open by 2017?
We are looking to open a lot many stores hopefully! We are looking at many locations, for example in more locations in Delhi, in Mumbai and Bengaluru.