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H&M To Open New Chain Of Stores, Three Retail Lessons For Start-ups: Business Planning

Three lessons from fashion retailer H&M

By Michelle Hammond
Monday, 02 April 2012

Global fashion retailer H&M is planning to open a new chain of stores in 2013 in a bid to broaden its offering, amid rumours it is working on a luxury line with higher price points.


The Swedish chain, which has 2300 stores in 43 countries, has confirmed a new retail concept is in the works, but has not revealed price points or the intended fashion.


“We are constantly looking at new ideas. However, there is nothing new that we can [talk] about for the moment,” H&M spokesperson Charlotta Nemlin told Women’s Wear Daily.


Here are three lessons start-ups can learn from H&M:


1. Divide and conquer


Rather than lump together every single item, H&M has made a point of creating different ranges designed to appeal to different consumers.


For example, it has recently been dressing stars for the red carpet – including Michelle Williams and Amanda Seyfried – in its new "Exclusive Conscious" range.


This range uses eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton, hemp and recycled polyester, thus appealing to its eco-conscious consumers without turning off other, less ‘green’ fashion-lovers.


2. Collaborate


Rather than attempt to win over consumers all by itself, H&M has made headlines for its designer collaborations with major fashion labels such as Versace, Marni and Karl Lagerfeld.


In November 2009, the company released a limited-edition diffusion collection by Jimmy Choo, featuring shoes and handbags, including a range of men’s shoes.


There’s nothing stopping start-ups from launching limited editions – either alone or in collaboration – which are a surefire way to motivate consumers to spend.


3. Tap into pop culture


In 2008, H&M used the song ‘Hang On’ by British singer-songwriter Lettie as background music to its UK website, giving the brand a contemporary edge.


Its fashions have also been featured in an interactive fashion art film by Imagine Fashion called Decadent Control, which premiered in March 2011.


And in addition to collaborating with Madonna and Kylie Minogue, H&M has worked with game developer Maxis to create a stuff pack – “H&M Fashion Stuff” – for The Sims 2 game.

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