18,168 $m
In spite of economic challenges and weaker than expected financial performance in the first half of 2013, H&M continues to offer “fashion and quality at the best price.” High-profile partnerships, historically a successful strategy for the brand, have continued with guest designer collaborations and celebrity endorsements from style icons such as Beyoncé, David Beckham, and Kanye West. The brand’s debut at Paris Fashion Week in February aimed to “surprise and inspire customers.” It’s also building credibility in sports apparel, appealing to sports buffs with tie-ins in the last year such as the Swedish Olympic and Paralympic teams, tennis star Thomas Berdych, and a special collection of sustainable urban cycling wear with London’s Brick Lane Bike. These strategic alliances not only help in marketing, but also influence H&M’s product development. As the world’s largest user of organic cotton, H&M has furthered its sustainability efforts, joining forces with the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) in a three-year commitment to improve stewardship of its global water supply. Shoring up its ethical sourcing commitment, H&M signed the Bangladesh Factory Safety Agreement in May of this year. The brand is expanding its e-commerce operations, launching its much-anticipated US web store in August 2013, as well as its physical footprint, planning 325 new stores. Still, H&M must remain relevant and responsive. Appealing to its global audience, emotionally and in terms of form, fashion, and function, will keep H&M at the top of its game.