H&M must improve its fashion credentials to secure recovery from COVID-19, says GlobalData – Retail Times


Following today’s release of H&M’s figures for H1, FY2021/22; Emily Salter, senior apparel analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view: “Despite H&M’s strong sales growth in its H1 FY2021/22 of SEK17.1bn to SEK103.7bn, H&M has still not recovered from the impacts of COVID-19, with revenue trailing 4.4% behind pre-pandemic levels. H&M stands out as a multichannel retailer that has not yet managed to recuperate its sales despite decent performance from its online channel since the start of the pandemic. The blame partially lies with its product range and reputation, with its collections being perceived as less fashionable than key rival Zara, with Inditex’s Q1 FY2022/23 (ending 30 April) sales an impressive 13.8% ahead of pre-pandemic levels. To boost its sales, H&M must focus on improving its fashion credentials and placing less focus on basics in its eponymous brand. It should also promote the low prices of its products throughout 2022 as consumers place more importance on value for money.

“The pausing of operations in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine has dampened H&M’s performance, with sales excluding the three countries in Q2 impacting the growth rate by 5ppts, and Eastern Europe unsurprisingly being the worst performing region in the quarter, with sales falling by 23% in local currencies. The Asia, Oceania and Africa region also experienced weak growth, with sales only rising by 5% in local currencies, likely dragged down by China. The retailer is closing its Shanghai flagship store amid difficulties trading in the region, suffering from the impacts of repeated COVID-19 lockdowns and a lack of appeal among consumers. The initial backlash among shoppers came after Western brands made statements condemning the alleged use of forced labor in cotton production in the Xinjiang region of China, but many Chinese consumers have switched to purchasing from domestic brands in the long term.

“The group must continue to innovate to revitalize its performance, focusing on improving its digital proposition, revamping its store estate and developing its sustainability initiatives. & Other Stories launched on rental platform HURR in the period, expanding the retailer’s presence in the burgeoning rental market, with occasionwear rental already available in selected H&M stores in the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany. The retailer is also trialing more digital features in its stores, with a pilot of smart mirrors in COS stores in the US, with mirrors in fitting rooms to offer personalized product and styling recommendations, and smart mirrors on the shop floor for virtual try-on and styling. This is a good step in the right direction to make the shopping experience more convenient and exciting, but such features must also be integrated into H&M brand stores which can often feel lackluster and tired.”





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Following today’s release of H&M’s figures for H1, FY2021/22; Emily Salter, senior apparel analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view: “Despite H&M’s strong sales growth in its H1 FY2021/22 of SEK17.1bn to SEK103.7bn, H&M has still not recovered from the impacts of COVID-19, with revenue trailing 4.4% behind pre-pandemic levels.…