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H&M plans to expand retail presence; hire 800 people in 2018

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Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) plans to hire 800 people this year as part of expansion plans of its sales network here, said a top company official.

According to a PTI report: Besides, H&M group, which has a total of nine labels in its umbrella, will not introduce any other brands in India under the current single brand FDI retail policy due to the sourcing requirements.

“We have 3,500 people working for the retail company and we would hire 800 more this year,” Janne Einola, Country Manager, H&M India told PTI.

He added that the new hirings would be for the new stores which the company intends to open here.

However, Einola did not share the number of stores, which H&M may open this year but said that it would maintain its pace here.

“Last year we have opened 17 store and I would continue the same pace this year. It would also depend on the availability of real estate at the locations where we want to go,” he was further quoted by PTI as saying.

The Stockholm-based company owns brands which includes – H&M, H&M Home, COS, & Other Stories, Monki, Weekday Cheap Monday and ARKET. It has only introduced H&M here in 29 stores which it is operates across the country.

As part of its growth strategy here, H&M will continue to open stores in new cities like Mysore and Ahmedabad and also expand store counts in the existing metro markets such as Mumbai and maintain a balance in that.

“If I am looking at our journey, it would be tier I & tier II – 50:50 – stores. We would grow in both sides…. we see lot of potentials in both,” Einola told PTI.

Moreover, H&M has also started online sales last week, aiming to track the customers from the places where it does not have any physical presence.

When asked if H&M group would bring more brands in India, he was quoted by PTI as saying:” There are still eight brands which are to enter into the market and the reason is very simple is only because of sourcing … They would not come (till the time there is restrictions)”.

H&M, which has achieved break even in the its very first year of operation here, is confident to achieve better numbers.

“We have become profitable in the first year of operations. The way figures are coming, we would put a new bench mark for the profit. 5-6 per cent is nothing,” he further told PTI.

On being asked about the expectations this year, Einola was quoted by PTI as saying: “For the global, we are saying that we would grow 15 per cent and off course India would grow more because its a growing market and we have just started here… A lot of expansion is coming from new stores”.

Moreover, H&M is also in talks with the government to ease out the local sourcing conditions for the companies, which source from here for their global operations.

“We have conversation with the government on the issue. We would also try to explain as how it would be mutual benefit to all of us,” he told PTI.

On the five years relaxation over 30 pecent local sourcing norms, Einola was quoted by PTI as saying:”We think that it should not be for 5 years. It should be always open for global sourcing. This should be simple and more fair”.

The company is focusing on the affordability here and its ladies range starts from Rs 399 and denim with Rs 699.

H&M, which follows December-November financial year, had posted nearly two-fold increase in sales in India to 1,179 million Swedish krona (over Rs 955 crore) for the fiscal ended November 2017. It was among its one of the fastest growing markets.

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