H&M expands to Australia: Five things you didn’t know about the iconic retailer

After years of speculation, fashion giant H&M has finally confirmed it will open an Australian store in 2014.

While the retailer is tight-lipped on details, the move concludes years of rumours and is further evidence international fashion retailers are now targeting Australia.

The world’s second largest clothing retail group – which is still partly owned by the family of the original founder – will follow the lead of successful expansions by fashion icons Zara and Topshop.

“We are happy to announce that we will open our first H&M store in Australia, in 2014! Stay tuned for more details,” the company announced on Twitter this morning.

Further detail was sought by SmartCompany but no response was received prior to publication.

H&M was founded by Erling Persson in Sweden in 1947, with the company initially selling women’s clothing. The store was called Hennes, Swedish for “hers”. In the 1960s, Persson bought another equipment store in Stockholm called Mauritz Widforss, adding the “M” to the H&M name.

Simon Fonteyn, head of consultancy group Lease Info Services, told SmartCompany this morning he believes the time is right for an H&M expansion.

“H&M has a history of rapid rollout in a short period of time,” he says. “When they go into a country they tend to go in hard, and they can locate in areas that are difficult, or where normal fashion retailers wouldn’t normally go.”

While local retailers grow frustrated by the arrival of international fashion giants, as they cause retail rents to rise, Fonteyn says the success of Zara and Topshop provides a tempting example for the international clothing giant.

“Landlords are much more willing now to accommodate space for these types of big players. There are vacancies now and there are good opportunities – it’s a good time for them to enter the market.”

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