H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB or H&M Group (abbreviated H&M) is a
multinational clothing company based in
Sweden that focuses on
fast-fashion clothing for men, women, teenagers, and children. As of 23 June 2022, H&M Group operated in 75 geographical markets with 4,801 stores under the various company brands, with 107,375[b] full-time equivalent positions.
The company was founded by
Erling Persson in 1947 when he opened his first shop in
Västerås, Sweden. The shop, called Hennes (Swedish for "hers"), exclusively sold women's clothing. Another store opened in
Norway in 1964. In 1968, Persson acquired the hunting apparel retailer Mauritz Widforss in Stockholm, which led to the inclusion of a menswear collection in the product range, and the name changed to Hennes & Mauritz.
The company was listed on the
Stockholm Stock Exchange in 1974. Shortly after, in 1976, the first store outside Scandinavia opened in London. H&M continued to expand in Europe and began to retail online in 1998 with the
domainhm.com registered in 1997, according to data available via
Whois. The opening of its first U.S. store on 31 March 2000 on
Fifth Avenue in
New York City marked the start of its expansion outside of Europe.
In 2008, the company announced in a
press release that it would begin selling home furnishings. While initially distributed online, the home furnishing items are now sold at H&M Home stores worldwide.
Concept stores, including
COS, Weekday, Monki, and
Cheap Monday, were launched following H&M's expansion in Asia. In 2009 and 2010, brand consultancy Interbrand ranked H&M as the twenty-first most-valuable global brand. Its worth was estimated at $12 billion to $16 billion. Under the "H&M with Friends", H&M will partner with Good American, a brand founded by
Khloe Kardashian and
Emme Grede, to feature their products in H&M's Swedish and German e-commerce shops.
Store openings worldwide
H&M operated 2,325 stores at the end of 2011. At the end of August 2012, they were operating 304 more stores, bringing the total to 2,629. In September 2013, the retailer opened its 3000th store in
In October 2020, H&M announced that it was planning to close 5% of its worldwide stores in 2021 as a result of the
COVID-19 pandemic. The fashion retailer H&M closed 250 shops throughout the globe and moved the majority of its operations online. The H&M Group's sales growth remained at -34% year-over-year from 2020 week 12 to week 22.
Countries H&M operates in (2022)
H&M store at the Pavilions Shopping Centre,
H&M Asia flagship store at Causeway Bay,
hundreds of other global companies, H&M announced on March 2, 2022, an end to retail operations of its more than 150 stores in
Russia as a result of the
Russian invasion of Ukraine. H&M cited that it stands "with all the people who are suffering" in Ukraine as well as for "the safety of customers and colleagues" in Russia. Having recently expanded via its Weekday and & Other Stories formats, Russia was H&M's sixth-biggest market at the time, representing 4% of group sales in the fourth quarter of 2021. The company also temporarily closed its Ukraine stores, which remain closed as of 2023 .
H&M sources raw materials from different areas around the world. The top three locations that ship its raw materials are China, Bangladesh, and India. Its retail headquarter is located in Sweden, where 21 suppliers and factories manufacture H&M's clothing products and accessories.
Bathing suits were promoted by Karen Mulder (1992), Pamela Anderson (1995), Tyra Banks (1996), Helena Christensen (1998), Salma Hayek (1999), Gisele Bündchen (2000), Margareth LaHoussaye-Duvigny (2001), Christy Turlington (2002) and Heidi Klum (2003).
In 2007, H&M and
Kylie Minogue launched a swimwear line in Shanghai to celebrate H&M's presence in Asia.
Lana Del Rey was the face of H&M's 2012 global summer collection music video, in which she also sang a cover of "
Blue Velvet" as a tribute to filmmaker David Lynch, whom she has said impacted her work.
In May 2013,
Beyoncé was the face of H&M for her campaign, "Mrs. Carter in H&M," which drew heavily upon Knowles' personal style. The singer also included the track "
Standing on the Sun" from her
fifth studio album as the campaign soundtrack.
In November 2004, select stores offered an exclusive collection by fashion designer
Karl Lagerfeld. The press reported there were large crowds and that the initial inventories in big cities were sold out within an hour.
H&M partnered with
Comme des Garçons, a Japanese fashion label, in the fall of 2008. Products in the collection included accessories, a unisex fragrance, and clothing for adults and children.
For spring and summer of 2009, British designer
Matthew Williamson created two exclusive ranges for the company – the first being a collection of women's clothes that were released in select stores. For the second collection, Williamson ventured into creating menswear for the first time. It featured swimwear for men and women and was available in all of H&M's stores worldwide.
On 14 November 2009, the company released a limited-edition
diffusion collection by
Jimmy Choo featuring handbags and shoes for men and women, with prices ranging from £30 to £170. The collection also included clothing designed by Choo, such as garments made of
suede and leather, and was available in 200 stores worldwide, including London's
Oxford Circus store.
Sonia Rykiel collaborated with the company by designing a ladies
knitwear and lingerie range that was released in select company stores on 5 December 2009.
French fashion house
Lanvin collaborated with H&M to create a new collection, "Lanvin Hearts H&M," in fall 2010. The collection, designed to make Lanvin clothing more accessible to the average consumer, featured items that were around 100 euros. Usually Lanvin dresses would cost hundreds of euros more.
For Spring and Summer 2011, the company worked with fashion blogger
Elin Kling, whose collection was only available at select stores.
H&M announced a collaboration with
Versace in June 2011 that was later released on November 19.
Versace also planned a Spring collaboration with the company that would only be available in countries with online sales. Similar to past collaborations, Versace agreed to let H&M use its name for a previously agreed-upon sum, without actually having a role in the design process.
H&M announced a collaboration with
Marni in November 2011. The campaign launched a few months later in Mah 2012 and was led by director
Sofia Coppola.
Trompe-l'œil printed viscose jersey dress by Maison Martin Margiela for H&M, 2012
On 4 October 2012,
Vogue Japan editor
Anna Dello Russo launched an accessories collection with H&M as
Paris Fashion Week drew to an end. The collection was stocked in 140 H&M stores worldwide and was also available to purchase online.
On 12 June 2012, H&M confirmed that it would launch a collaboration with
Maison Martin Margiela for a fall rollout. The Maison Martin Margiela collection for H&M hit stores a few months later on 15 November 2012.
Isabel Marant was a collaboration designer for fall 2013 and, for the first time in her career, made a few men's pieces to accompany the women's collection. The collection sold out very quickly in cities across the globe and was heavily anchored in sales online.
Balmain was announced as the next collaboration with H&M through Balmain designer
Instagram page. The collection was released on 5 November 2015. That year's H&M Christmas campaign was made in collaboration with popstar
Katy Perry, who also sang the commercial soundtrack "'Every Day Is A Holiday".
In November 2016, H&M released a designer line in collaboration with
Kenzo. That year the company released an annual holiday movie directed by
Wes Anderson as part of the company's Christmas advertising campaign. Titled "Come Together", the short film starred
Adrien Brody as a train conductor who saves Christmas after a blizzard delays the train's arrival and causes the few passengers to miss part of the holiday.
Zara Larsson designed a "playful, young, empowering and little glamorous" collection with H&M in February 2017.
After 20 years,
Naomi Campbell came back to collaborate with the company for a global female empowerment commercial spot in fall 2017. She wore clothes that blurred the line between masculine and feminine in the campaign's Tokyo spot-video where she
Wham Rap (Enjoy What You Do)" by
Designers Jeremy Scott and
Moschino collaborated with the brand in April 2018.
With the idea of reviving the spirit of the swinging sixties, H&M collaborated with designer Richard Allan in July 2019.
The Fleur du Soleil collection, part of H&M's collaboration with Lebanese designer
Sandra Mansour, was released in August 2020 and marked the first time the company had partnered with an Arab designer.
Simone Rocha, daughter of designer
John Rocha, was announced as a collaborative partner in March 2021. Rocha's designs launched with an H&M campaign film and images shot by Tyler Mitchell.
In 2018, the flagship
New York City location tried out an in-store "Voice Interactive Mirror" developed by
Microsoft and Ombori. The mirror, designed to have voice and facial recognition, acted as a
personal shopping assistant and also encouraged customers to sign up for newsletters and scan QR codes. A German CPG news source, Lebensmittelzeitung, concluded that "86% of customers who took a selfie ended up scanning the QR code and 10% of [customers] also registered for the newsletter."
In 2023, H&M partnered with Roblox, online game platform to create an interactive online experience. Customers were able style their virtual selves in newly created clothes and even trade or recycle clothes.
Sustainability and environmental awareness
Used garment vouchers
Starting in February 2013, H&M began offering patrons a
voucher in exchange for used garments. Donated garments were to be processed by I:CO, a retailer that repurposes and recycles used clothing with the goal of creating a
zero waste economy. The initiative is similar to an April 2012 clothes-collection voucher program launched by
Marks & Spencer in partnership with
In April 2014, H&M joined
Zara and other apparel companies in changing their
supply chain to avoid endangered forests. The company teamed with Canopy, a nonprofit, to remove endangered and ancient forests from their dissolvable pulp supply chain for their viscose and rayon fabrics.
The H&M Foundation
The H&M Foundation, a nonprofit, was established in 2014 to fund projects that improve humanitarian and environmental issues within the fashion industry. The
Persson family, the founders and owners of H&M, originally invested $180 million in the foundation. One of the foundation's projects includes the Green Machine, a recycling technology that would allow clothing to be recycled in a similar way to aluminum can recycling. Since 2013, the family has made contributions to the foundation, donating SEK1.1 billion (US$154 million) to it. According to the
OECD, H&M Foundation's financing for 2019 development increased by 7% to $17 million USD. In August 2015, the H&M Foundation announced that it will award the Global Change Award, a million-euro annual prize, to advance recycling technology and techniques within the fashion industry. In 2021, H&M Foundation launched a virtual clothing collection named “The Billion Dollar Collection” that featured ten sustainable fashion innovation startups.
Brazilian leather halt
In September 2019, H&M halted its leather purchases from Brazil in response to the
2019 Amazon rainforest wildfires. The company issued an email statement: "The ban will be active until there are credible assurance systems in place to verify that the leather does not contribute to environmental harm in the
Amazon." H&M imports only a small fraction of its leather needs from the country.
Sustainability ambassador hiring
Maisie Williams joined the brand as a global sustainability ambassador in April 2021. As a global sustainability ambassador, she helped front the company's campaign on using only recycled or sustainably sourced materials by 2030. The first initiative fronted by the actress has led to a collaboration with the video game
Animal Crossing, with Williams being transformed into a digital game character to teach the virtues of recycling.
In May 2021, H&M announced a temporary rental clothing service that allows men to rent suits for up to 24 hours for job interviews. It began in the UK and was also being tested in the United States.
Five concept brands
In addition to the H&M brand, the company consists of six individual brands with separate concepts. Brands include Afound, Arket, COS, Monki, Weekday, and & Other Stories.
COS launched its flagship store on London's
Regent Street in March 2007 with a catwalk show at the Royal Academy. Its concept is encompassed by minimalist style inspired by architecture, graphics, and design.
It specializes in modern clothing pieces for men and women that are less trend-oriented than other similarly priced labels. COS makes clothing that can be worn beyond the season. COS has 197 stores in 34 countries in Europe, Asia, North America, Australia and the Middle East and currently retails online to 19 markets via cos.com.
2016 saw the hoarding of a new H&M concept in The Dubai Mall come up, labelled now 'H&M Details'.
In August 2011, nearly 300 workers fainted in one week at a Cambodian factory supplying H&M. Fumes from chemicals, poor ventilation,
malnutrition, and even "mass hysteria" have all been blamed for making workers ill. The
minimum wage in the country is the equivalent of $66 (£42) a month, an amount that is less than half of what is required to meet basic needs, according to human rights groups.
The same year, Bangladeshi and international labor groups put forth a detailed safety proposal that entailed the establishment of independent inspections of garment factories. The plan called for inspectors to have the power to close unsafe factories. The proposal entailed a
legally binding contract between suppliers, customers, and unions. At a meeting in 2011 in
Dhaka, major European and North American retailers, including H&M, rejected the proposal. Further efforts by unions to advance the proposal after numerous and deadly factory fires have been rejected.
After Feb. 1, 2021 military coup d'etat, many labor groups demanded H&M and other apparel companies divest from Myanmar because of the concern that there would be labor rights abuses. There have been multiple reports of labor abuses in factories making H&M clothes. A labor news outlet reported that a worker from Saung Oo Shwe Nay factory that makes H&M clothing was physically abused. Myanmar Labour News quoted FGWM, a labor union, with photos on how the worker was abused by her supervisors. There are multiple reports from other workers from the same factory complaining that they were also physically abused and the employers did not take responsibility, according to the union. There are increasing amount of labor abuses occurring in Myanmar under the military dictatorship. The largest labor group CTUM has been reporting to the International Labor Organization yearly on Myanmar labor abuses.
Supply chain transparency
The Guardian wrote that in a conscious action sustainability report for 2012, H&M published a list of factories supplying 95% of its garments. This contributes to the trend of corporations leaning toward ethically transparent supply chains.
In September 2020, amid international allegations over the use of Uyghur forced labor in
Xinjiang, H&M published a statement saying that it had stopped buying cotton from growers in Xinjiang, stating that it was "deeply concerned by reports from civil society organizations and media that include accusations of forced labor and discrimination of ethno-religious minorities".
In February 2017, The Guardian reported children were employed to make H&M products in
Myanmar and were paid 13p (about 15 cents US) an hour – half the full legal minimum wage.
Factory building structural collapses
Savar building, Bangladesh
In April 2013,
the Rana Plaza building collapsed in Bangladesh killing over 1,100 people. Fatalities were mostly garment workers. The incident is considered the deadliest non-deliberate
structural failure accident and the deadliest
garment factory disaster in modern history. The eight-story building complex that was not designed for factory production and had cracks in the structure that the owners ignored. Approximately 2,500 injured people were rescued from the rubble.
On 19 May 2013, a textile factory that produced apparel for H&M in
Phnom Penh, Cambodia collapsed, injuring several people. The incident has raised concerns regarding industrial safety regulations.
On 25 November 2013, H&M's global head of sustainability committed that H&M, as the world's second-largest clothing retailer, would aim to pay all textile workers "living wage" by 2018, stating that governments are responding too slowly to poor working conditions in Bangladesh among other Asian countries where many clothing retailers source a majority if not all of their garments. Wages were increased in Bangladesh from 3,000 takas ($40) to 5,300 takas ($70) a month in late 2013.
Fire safety report
In September 2015, CleanClothes.org, an NGO involved in garment labor working conditions, reported on a lack of specific fire safety renovations in H&M suppliers' factories.
viral post spread across mainland Chinese social media, leading to H&M facing significant criticism among Chinese social media users. On 24 March 2021, H&M became the first fashion brand to be targeted in China, with its products removed from Chinese e-commerce platforms such as
Alibaba, its mobile application removed from Chinese app stores, and rideshare platform
DiDi blocking customers from requesting H&M stores as their destinations. Two of H&M's brand ambassadors in China,
Huang Xuan and
Victoria Song, announced they were no longer collaborating with H&M.
state media outlet
China Global Television Network countered the statements against Xinjiang cotton with a video showing automation in cotton-picking and local Uyghurs claiming that the industry brought high earnings. On 26 March 2021, the United States condemned the China-backed boycotts, with its
Department of Commerce stating that the United States "has taken strong actions to stop China from profiting off of its human-rights abuses in Xinjiang and to stop imports of products made with forced labor in China."
On 31 March, H&M responded with a statement vowing to rebuild trust in China and serve its customers in a "respectful way". H&M reported sales in China had fallen by approximately 23% for the second quarter of 2021 (compared to the same period in the last fiscal year). According to a report, more than half a million are forced to pick cotton in Xinjiang.
A proposed class action lawsuit in the US is alleging H&M is greenwashing via the sustainability claims made in its Conscious Choice range. Earlier this year, The Norwegian Consumer Agency (Forbrukertilsynet) said it believed Norrøna is “breaking the law” in marketing clothes as environmentally friendly and issued a warning to H&M GROUP against using the same type of environmental claims.
In March 2022, the H&M Group communicated that they would pause its operations in Russia due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
6 January 2010
Was reported that unsold or refunded clothing and other items in one
New York City store were cut up before being discarded, presumably to prevent resale or use.
24 January 2012
Was reported to have stolen the work of a UK-based artist, Tori LaConsay, using it on multiple items without compensating her.
In response, Canadian and American singers such as
The Weeknd and
G-Eazy boycotted the company by ending their partnerships with it over the image. H&M later released an apology: "This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended."
The mother of the model urged people to "stop
crying wolf," deeming it "an unnecessary issue." After the allegations, H&M stores were vandalized and looted in South Africa. In response, H&M temporarily closed stores there.
13 July 2019
H&M docked the pay and suspended several unionized staff in three of its stores in New Zealand for wearing '
Living wage' stickers, as part of a wider industrial dispute.
9 December 2020
Equality Ombudsman (DO) started an investigation into H&M following a media report accusing it of racism in Swedish stores.
Since January 2012 H&M has offered its
H&M Design Award, an annual design prize for fashion graduates. The prize is established to support young designers with the beginning of their careers.