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A file photo of an H&M ad.
A file photo of an H&M ad.

H&M to bump up presence in smaller cities in India

  • The company has 47 stores across the country
  • Last year, it tied up Myntra and Jabong to sell products online

MUMBAI: Swedish retailer H&M plans to bump up its presence in tier II and III cities of India to capture the growing demand for its apparel brands beyond the metros, said a top company official.

The company, which has 47 stores across the country, has aggressively expanded in India over the last five years. Last year, it tied up with Indian e-commerce platforms Myntra and Jabong to sell its products online apart from its own sites.

"What is clearly evident from our online platform is we see a great demand in tier II and III cities," said Janne Einola, country manager, H&M India on the sidelines of Retail Leadership Summit organised by Retail Association of India (RAI).

For the year ended 30 November, the local arm of Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) -- known for its affordable and trendy fashion -- posted a 43% jump in sales to nearly 1,500 crore despite opening fewer stores.

In 2019, H&M opened eight stores in India, lower than what it added in 2018 when it had opened 12 new stores.

"Tier II cities have been working very well for us...We have been testing in tier III cities like Coimbatore and Jalandhar. And these cities have been promising. This is the reason why I feel confident that we can grow in India. We will open quite a lot in Tier II cities and some of them in Tier 1," Einola said.

At present, almost 50% of its store presence is in Tier II cities while the rest in metros. However, the bigger cities currently account larger share to its the overall sales than the smaller cities. Besides, the company is also betting on the online platforms to boost sales in the coming years.

Globally, 24% of its sales comes through various e-commerce platforms.

"The online share is coming very big. If it's globally 24%, we are much higher here in India. Currently we are very satisfied with our partnership with Myntra...Every retailer has to think a bit of future omni channel presence. What is interesting is our social (media) shopping like we do in Instagram especially for our customers in the US. We are interested in figuring out something like this in India as well," Einola said.

H&M is also gearing up to sell its first Indian ethnic wear collection designed in partnership with designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee starting 16 April. Called Wanderlust, the company plans to sell the collection across all of H&M's global outlets as well as on their e-commerce platforms. The partnership also marks the celebrated Indian designer's entry into the mass category.

"We have been in India for five years and no better way to celebrate than to do with the best Indian designer. We wanted to do something very cool, what has not been done before. This is the first time most Indians would have an access to his label," Einola said.

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