With its extensive business network, Sweden-based multinational retail-clothing company H&M has become one of the world's leading fashion companies. H&M had a total of 3,924 stores by the end of 2015, expanding its global reach to 61 countries across six continents including e-commerce in 23 of them. Last year the company added 16,000 employees to its roster of designers, pattern makers, buyers and other staff, increasing the total number of H&M employees to 148,000.
The first H&M store opened in 1947 in Västerås, Sweden, and was a small women’s wear shop. Now, H&M has six different fashion brands available in its stores worldwide and is expanding rapidly. During 2015, the company opened 413 new stores, adding traditional stores in five new markets - India, Macau, Peru, South Africa, and Taiwan - and expanding its e-commerce network to 10 new countries.
H&M plans to further develop its global presence with an annual expansion rate of 10 to 15 percent. By the end of 2016, H&M expects to have storefronts in 64 markets and e-commerce offerings in 32 markets. Of the 425 new stores planned for this year, three will be in new markets: Cyprus, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico. The brand will also reach nine new e-commerce markets, including Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Slovenia.
H&M's corporate business concept is anchored on sustainability, a concept enabled by the company's global footprint. In 2015, H&M was awarded the 'Industry Mover' distinction in the global retail sector by the RobecoSAM's Sustainability Yearbook for achieving the largest proportional improvement in sustainability performance compared to the previous year.