Expect an “aggressive push” from H&M in 2013. Riding high on the success of its 269 U.S. stores, the Swedish fast fashion retailer will open more than 40 new stores in the states, revamp current U.S. locations, enhance its online shopping platform, and send catalogues to millions of potential customers.
Unlike some of its European peers, the chain won’t be confining its new stores to New York and California. Last week, H&M revealed 10 new locations, including stores in Chicago, Washington, New Orleans, West Palm Beach, and Honolulu. Asked to comment on its long-term projections, the company declined to name numbers, but suggested that H&M aims to compete with American-owned retailers like Forever 21 and Express, which operate 500 and 600 stores, respectively.
By tailoring each of its many stores to reflect the age, tastes, and disposable incomes of that area’s shoppers, H&M hopes to cultivate lifetime customers. “You don’t have to leave H&M,” Daniel Kulle, president of H&M’s U.S. division, told Women’s Wear Daily. “You can shop for your kids when you’re younger and shop for yourself when you get older.”
While H&M’s earnings have suffered from its many recent investments–fourth-quarter net profits fell 1.3%–Kull pointed out that the company remains debt and financing free, and that its investments will see huge dividends. “We’ve established a strong brand,” he said. “Now we can see that we can grow and expand….There’s huge potential at the moment.”