Store Review: Inside H&M
H&M, (H & M Hennes&MauritzAB )the international fashion brand known for offering fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way was founded in Sweden in 1947 and is quoted on Nasdaq Stockholm. In addition to H&M, the group includes the brands – & Other Stories, Cheap Monday, COS, Monki and Weekday as well as H&M Home. The H&M Group has more than 4,200 stores in 64 markets including franchise markets. In 2015, sales including VAT were SEK 210 billion and the number of employees is more than 148,000 today.
H&M opened its first store in India in October 2015, in 2016 H&M opened 11 stores in India and has expanded to 14 stores since. “We are delighted with the customers’ response to the brand and look forward to welcoming them as we open many more stores across India,” comments Dhatri Bhatt, Head, Public Relations, India.
The brand since having set their foot in India have been on an expansion mode and we decided to visit the 37,000 sq. ft. High Street Phoenix store of H&M to exclusively look into the lingerie, intimate apparel and sportswear collections in stock. The store at Bandra Kurla houses fashion across two levels and can be easily recognized by its state of the art facade and easy access for visitors arriving from adjoining retail spots. The new store carries a complete range of fashion and accessories for women, men, and children with new items arriving in the store everyday.
When we visited the store, then the H&M Spring Summer 17 collection had just made way to the stores and was shelved neatly to make for a pretty picture.
Inside the store
The H&M store is undoubtedly a shopper’s paradise and the huge store is so inviting and promising that even if you have less time in hand, or is not so keen on making a purchase, you will end up picking up the shopping basket and choosing a few pieces before you hit the billing counter. The first display at entry on mannequins is of clothes spotted in the current H&M campaign. This section also houses the limited-edition designer collaboration collections, making it the most sought-after spot in the store. The store’s front landing is huge and the moment you stand at the entry, you will clearly understand what’s to your left, right and in front. There is so much clarity and neatness that there will certainly be no doubt regarding making choices.
Just when you stand at the entrance and make way within the store, you will straight hit the lingerie and intimate apparel section. Positioned righteously along side the trial rooms this section is also next to billing counter. Of course the idea of convenience drives this suitable arrangement. You can be sure to spot the lingerie experts around this area, always ready to guide you with a smile and expertise.
The lingerie segment can again be segregated into separate units. Standing at the front, you will be welcomed by a huge glass table top that houses the bestsellers of the season and the best picks keeping in mind occasions, months or ‘what’s in’ sort of themes. The display here works like a prelude to what awaits you next! The next unit in this segment has a colour play display which on one side houses the budget pieces by the brand, on the other the occasion wear, specific to romantic nights, seductive lingerie, naughty lingerie and even for the bride to be.
This is surely a feast for the eye and has a good balance between aspiration and affordable. Moving on we come across the larger unit of the lingerie segment which has bra’s arranged as per sizes under broader heads described through coverage and other specification types like Push up bras, full coverage, mid coverage, balconette, super push up etc .
The best thing about H&M surely is the variety and versatility that the fast fashion brand offers. There is everything from the classics to the basics in the store and also are design pieces that are exclusive of the brand and are the fruit of designer collaborations. Lingerie and the athleisure segment too is full of variety and can fit in to your wardrobe to give you a quick makeover or add that classic touch to your lingerie drawer to seal the forever deal.
Starting from a price tag of 699, the lingerie section also offers budget packs like three pack thong briefs, 2 pack push up bras, 2 pack lace underwired bras, 4 pack bikini briefs etc. There is a galore in style when it comes to the lace and satin collection, which includes lace hipster briefs, thongs, shorts, lace triangle bra, padded bra etc. Basic colours and mostly blacks and whites dominates the collections in lace. The lingerie this season brings out nude and earthy tones and includes colours like beige, white, grey, pigeon blue, lilac etc. Lacy collection in fuchsia, mauve, maroon and darker shades of blue are the perfect choice for women who want to give shape to their curves with a twist of colour. The collection in store mostly comprises of padded cups that supports giving the women fuller cleavage detailing and very few pieces stand in the full coverage zone.
Cotton jersey and microfiber dominate the intimate apparel collection for H&M and guarantees comfort and ease of use with every fit. Satin Kimono, Lace and mesh corset set, lace bralette with underwired, moulded, padded cups and a thick lace trim at the hem, Bodice in lace and mesh with cap sleeves, visible elastication at the waist, an opening with a covered button at the back of the neck and a lined gusset with press-studs, lace suspender belts, and Lace halter neck bodice are some of the most premium and the classic pieces from the house of H&M.
Apart from this the other key items found on the shelves of H&M lingerie segment are nylon stockings, nylon lace stockings, tights, self adhesive bra, knee socks, trainer socks, lace tights, invisible socks etc. While the sports wear segment includes sports bra, sports socks, yoga pants, high support sports bra, running and sports tights, vests, jackets, bikini top etc starting at a price point of Rs.1700.
Just when you feel you are spoilt for choice by just looking at the lingerie and athleisure section at H&M, you will be amazed to know that the intimate apparel segment at the store also includes a decent and extremely stylish maternity collection which includes dungarees, jumpers, nursing vests and bras and goes on to include leggings, briefs, tights, joggers, tops, support tights etc. Labelled as conscious, the maternity wear at H&M gives a special eye to detail and quality. And ensures that each piece gives the right support and comfort to the mother to be or the new mother.
We spoke to Dhatri Bhatt, Head, Public Relations, India to understand a few things pertaining to H&M and their India plans. Here’s what she had to say!
What are your expansion plans in future?
We see a great potential to open more stores in India, the number and timeframe will be determined by a number of external factors. Our expansion strategy is to always open at the best business location, and we look at many different options at the same time. H&M is currently operating stores in Mumbai, Delhi, NCR, Mohali, Bangalore, Chennai and Pune Apart from metros. This Summer H&M will also be opening its first store in Hyderabad.
We believe there is also a huge opportunity in the Tier 2 and tier 3 markets to open stores
Do people visit H&M more when there is a sale or is the price so friendly that they feel comfortable to visit round the year?
H&M’s business concept is Fashion and Quality at the best price in a sustainable way
Fashion, design and sustainability are not a question of price. H&M sells a broad and varied range of inspiring fashion for women, men, teenagers and childrenthat offers great value for money.
By having our own design and buying department, we are, by creating ourown collections, able to offer the latest fashion. We always aspire to create fashion that offers all our different customers something, i.e. always to be at the forefront, delivering a good balance between modern basics, current fashion and the very latest trends.
Online segment is flooding with new lingerie selling portals every passing day. Will the market still be highly performing for the offline stores in the years to come?
Online shopping is a natural expansion of our business, we see a great potential for future growth in the online space. Online shopping is available in 35 H&M markets as of December 31, 2016. However, we believe there is immense potential in retail stores today.
So what does a shopper at H&M get for herself/himself?
At H&M we encourage fashionista to dress their personality and create their own looks to stand out from the crowd instead of following the trends alone. The diversity of the range means that garments can be combined in numerous ways and worn during several seasons – thus extending their lifecycle and contributing to increased sustainability
With reference to brand H&M do you think, India is a good platform to open up stores? If yes! do tell us why do you think this way?
India is one of the most exciting counties in the world right now, with so much potential within retail, we are very happy to be in India and inspire people to create their own personal style with fashion and quality at the best price.
We therefore see India as an important part of our global expansion and aim to grow with our business concept of Fashion and Quality at the Best price in a sustainable way.