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H&M to launch local online offer later this year

Swedish fast fashion giant H&M has revealed plans to launch an e-commerce site in Australia in the second half of the year.

The retailer announced the news late last week when it reported its full-year earnings for FY19, which saw net sales rise 11 percent across the group to SEK 232.8 billion (approximately $36.1 billion).

“We are extremely excited to launch online shopping in Australia later this year. This significant milestone will fully round out H&M Australia’s multichannel offering,” Thomas Coellner, H&M Australia’s country manager, said in a statement.

“We look forward to providing 24/7 access to our fashion and creating new experiences for our customers.”

H&M opened its first bricks-and-mortar store in Australia in 2014, and now has 40 stores in its network. Like many international apparel brands, however, it didn’t introduce an e-commerce offering right away.

Zara, which entered Australia in 2011, only launched a local e-commerce site in 2018.

Few details have been released about the online launch thus far, though H&M offers click-and-collect and next-day delivery in other markets, and supports visual search on its site.

Inside Retail asked whether these features would be available in Australia but did not receive an immediate reply.

H&M said its efforts to shift the balance towards more full-price sales and away from markdowns paid off over the past 12 months, with an increase in gross profit from SEK 110.9 billion (approximately $17.2 billion) in FY18 to SEK 122.5 billion (approximately $19 billion) in FY19, and gross margin of 52.6 per cent, compared to 52.7 per cent.

Profit after financial items increased by 11 per cent to SEK 17.4 billion (approximately $2.7 billion), and profit after tax increased to SEK 13.4 billion (approximately $2.1 billion).

All figures are for the group, which includes the H&M, COS, Monki, Weekday, & Other Stories, H&M Home, ARKET and Afound brands.

The retailer said it would continue to optimise its store portfolio this year, with around 200 new stores set to open in 2020, mainly in growth markets, and around 175 stores set to close, mainly in established markets. The net addition of new stores for full-year 2020 is expected to be around 25.

H&M also announced that longtime chairman Stefan Persson would be stepping down following the AGM on May 7, and that CEO Karl-Johan Persson would be nominated to succeed him.

The board has chosen COO Helena Helmersson to be the next CEO of H&M.

This story first appeared on sister site, Inside Retail.

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