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H&M sees bright future in China

News, 28 September 2015
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BEIJING/STOCKHOLM: Swedish retailer H&M does not share global concerns about the state of the Chinese economy and is planning to roll out hundreds of new stores while also targeting China's upper-middle class.

The world's second-largest clothing retailer plans to open another 240 stores around the world in the fourth quarter and most of them are expected to be located in China and the US.

H&M already has 299 stores in China, but it sees room for growth having seen its revenue in the country grow 11% in the third-quarter, chief executive Karl-Johan Persson told the Wall Street Journal.

"We have a positive long-term view on China; our position there is strong, as is our profitability," he said.

"As far as the overall Chinese market goes, in the third quarter we have heard that there has been a slight slowdown from a very strong sales pace increase to somewhat calmer levels," he added.

Another draw for H&M is that apparel sales in China are expected to remain buoyant, according to consultants PwC, which forecast that overall clothing sales will reach nearly $80bn this year.

Part of H&M's strategy is to target the country's growing upper-middle class and it plans to open more stores that sell its premium brand, Cos. This includes a flagship store in the heart of Beijing's top shopping district.

"We invest in the long term and I am not worried about China currently," Persson said earlier this month in an interview with The Times of India.

He went on to tell the newspaper that, despite the company's interests in China, H&M is excited about the opportunities presented by the Indian market, where it will open its first store in October.

"We enter markets irrespective of size and potential. Our aim is to provide something fantastic to the consumer," he said. "India is probably the most interesting market in the world where we are not present yet. We have huge hopes."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal, Times of India; additional content by Warc staff

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