H&M unveils new brand ARKET as it posts sales growth
H&M group has revealed it is bringing a new brand to market as it posted a growth in sales of 7% for the three months to 28 February. ARKET promises to offer a "broad yet selected range of essentials" for men, women and children as well as a curated offer for the home; London will receive the first store.
The Swedish group, which already has seven brands, promised it would be launching more last time it posted on its financial performance in January. Its latest offer will sit slightly above flagship brand H&M in terms of price point and "the overall direction and focus is quality in simple, timeless and functional designs", the group's CEO Karl-Johan Persson said in a statement.
ARKET's own range will be complemented with a selection of external brands in its stores, which will also feature cafes where possible. The cafes will be based on the New Nordic Kitchen concept and its focus on quality ingredients and healthy living. The first store will open in London and online in 18 European markets in early autumn 2017, followed by stores in Brussels, Copenhagen and Munich.
The H&M portfolio also includes COS, & Other Stories, Monki, Cheap Monday, H&M Home and Weekday, which will open its first UK store on London's Regent Street this summer.
"Ten years ago the first COS store opened, and since then we have added a number of new brands to the H&M group. Each with its own unique profile, our brands attract customers in various different segments. We are now looking forward to launching ARKET after the summer this year," Persson said.
In the quarter ending 28 February H&M group sales hit SEK 54,369m, an increase of 7%. Profits however were down slightly; profit after tax amounted to SEK 2,457m (SEK 2,545m), which was affected by lower than expected sales growth and a higher level of markdowns.
"For fashion retail in general, market conditions were very tough in many of our large markets in central and southern Europe and in the US, and this was reflected in our sales. In other markets, such as Sweden and the other Scandinavian countries, eastern Europe, Turkey, Russia, China and Japan our sales developed well and we continued to take market share. Sales at COS, & Other Stories, Monki, Weekday and H&M Home continued to develop very well both in stores and online, as did H&M’s online sales," Persson said.
He added that the group was introducing efficiencies and investment into its buying, merchandising and logistics functions to help rise to market challenges and that it would continue with its omnichannel strategy and investment in stores.
Image: H&M courtesy