H&M Opens First Online Store in USA

In eCommerce, What's New, Industry News by Jeff Prine

H&MonlineNew York—H&M, the Swedish-based fast fashion retailer who has seen the United States grow into its second biggest market, today launched its next phase to conquer the U.S. market—opening its Internet store.

H&M Shop Online will offer the same collections online as in-store giving customers access to a wide range of apparel and accessories including women’s, men’s, teens, plus-size and a full children’s line. There will also be additional sizes and exclusive “online-only” items available all year-round.

“We are thrilled to launch online shopping in the U.S.,” said Daniel Kulle, U.S. president for H&M. “This significant milestone fully rounds out H&M’s multichannel offering. Along with close to 300 stores, our U.S. customers will now have 24 hour access to the best of our fashion and home collections via their computers, smartphones and tablets anywhere in the U.S.”

H&M’s Shop Online launch will also debut H&M Home, available exclusively online.

The debut of H&M Shop Online follows two previous attempts by the retailer to establish an online business but due to complexities in setting up the operation and integrating it with its stores the company pulled back.

Pop-Up Shop Opens August 22

Meanwhile, H&M continued to grow in the United States even without the online presence and the company has been mindfully cautious about the likely impact on profit margins due to high shipping and return costs in such a large country.

But apparel has become one of the fastest-growing segments in online retail. Goldman Sachs predicts that as much as 25% of apparel sales will occur on the Internet by 2030 compared to 7% in 2011. H&M already has e-stores in eight European countries and says they are now as profitable as its bricks-and-mortar shops.

Moreover, about half of fashion merchandise sold online is returned. H&M’s U.S. online store offers free shipping but charges for returns, said Nils Vinge, head of investor relations at H&M.

To further highlight the arrival of e-commerce, H&M U.S. will offer exclusive online pre-shopping of its Paris Show Collection.

Presented first on the runway during Paris Fashion Week, this collection will debut globally in approximately 200 stores and online September 5. However, U.S. customers will have the opportunity to be the first to shop the collection by visiting hm.com on August 22.

In celebration of Shop Online, H&M will open a pop-up shop on August 22 in New York City’s Meatpacking District to give customers a glimpse into the world of H&M e-commerce. The pop-up shop will feature the Paris Show Collection, a Try-On-Lab, and a virtual check-out system where customers can make purchases via iPads.

Also online, customers can see the latest collections, find inspiration from “H&M Life,” sign up for the Friends and Family newsletters for exclusive previews and offers, and interact with both H&M and fellow customers on social media. www.hm.com/us/


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