H&M, Cos, & Other Stories
It was thirteen years ago that the Swedish retailer opened it's first U.S. outpost. 269 stores later they are stronger than ever and showing no signs of slowing down their U.S. growth.
Daniel Kulle, U.S. president of H&M, told WWD, "We've established a strong brand. Now we can see that we can grow and expand in many markets in the U.S. There's huge potential at the moment."
The fashion giant unveiled 40 new U.S. stores in 2012 and hopes to surpass that number in 2013. "This is just the beginning," Kulle said Thursday, revealing 10 new locations, including the Roosevelt Collection in Chicago; Union Station and The Shops at Georgetown Park in Washington; the French Quarter in New Orleans; City Place in West Palm Beach, Fla., and the Waikiki Business Plaza in Honolulu .
Besides expansion, e-commerce is another important initiative. "There's huge growth in multichannel," Kulle said, noting that H&M is launching a U.S. e-commerce site in the summer after three push backs.
H&M is taking a new approach to designing flagships and customizing stores to specific locations. For an example, two previously announced Manhattan stores opening blocks away from one another will look like they're worlds apart. "The designs will be completely different," Kulle said. "It takes a lot of resources to make them unique."
The store at 589 Fifth Avenue and 48th Street, which will be H&M's largest in the world with 57,000 square feet of space, will be elegant and sleek, "more like a high-street store," Kulle said. The 4 Times Square store will have a "full-on party atmosphere." The 42,500-square-foot unit will have LED signage measuring 70 by 70 feet at the top of the skyscraper, massive signage on the store's exterior, billboards and interactive elements inside.
"We're going to make it very localized," Kulle said. "We're a democratic brand and want to show the world that everyone has the possibility of coming [to our stores, whether they are] the Fifth Avenue customer or the value customer. We're aiming for many different types of customers, a broad base."
Kulle also said said the U.S. may be seeing H&M's sister brands soon. "Everything is in the works and the plans," he said. "& Other Stories has the potential with other H&M brands to come to America. It looks very interesting for fashion-conscious females and is right-on [in terms of trend]. That's a brand we can take over to America. We can also take Cos, which has 70 or 80 stores. Cos for sure will be in America. We're looking for an opportunity to open Cos. We also have other, smaller brands, such as Cheap Monday. That's the recipe for growth."