H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB ( Swedish pronunciation: [ˈhoː.ˈɛm; ˈhɛnːˈɛs ɔ ˈma.ʊrɪts] ; H&M ) is a Swedish multinational retail-clothing company, known for its fast-fashion clothing for men, women, teenagers and children.

H&M exists in 61 countries with over 3,700 stores and as of 2015 employed around 132,000 people. [3] The first store was opened on the high street of Västerås, Sweden in 1947. [4] It had 2,325 stores at the end of 2011, 2,629 stores at the end of August 2012 [5] and opened its 3,000th store in September 2013 in Chengdu, China. [2] It is ranked the second largest global clothing retailer, just behind Spain-based Inditex (parent company of Zara), and leads over the third largest global clothing retailer, United States based Gap Inc.


In 1946 the company's founder Erling Persson came up with the business idea of offering fashionable clothing at attractive prices. In 1947 he opened his first shop Västerås, Sweden "Hennes", which exclusively sold women's clothing. "Hennes" is Swedish and means "hers". In 1968 Persson acquired the hunting apparel retailer Mauritz Widforss, which led to the inclusion of a menswear collection in the product range and the name change to "Hennes & Mauritz" (H&M).


Its first store outside of the domestic market was opened in Norway in 1964, [6] and from then onwards, the company embarked upon a major expansion programme opening a large number of further stores in Europe, including Denmark, Switzerland, Germany and the United Kingdom. The first H&M store to open outside of Scandinavia was in the United Kingdom, in 1976. [7]

With an expansion outside of Europe that started with the US in 2000, where it now has over 400 stores alone.

Number of H&M stores as of 30 June 2016. H&M opened its 4000th store in Noida, India which is the biggest store of that country. [8]







In 2008, the company used the song "Hang On" by British singer-songwriter Lettie as background music to its UK website. Their fashions have been featured in an interactive fashion art film by Imagine Fashion called Decadent Control . It premiered in March 2011 and stars Roberto Cavalli, Kirsty Hume, Eva Herzigová and Brad Kroenig.

Fashion designers collaborations

In November 2004, selected company stores offered an exclusive collection by fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. The press reported large crowds and that the initial inventories in the larger cities were sold out within an hour, [9] although the clothes were still available in less fashion-sensitive areas until the company redistributed them to meet with demand. [10]

In November 2005, the company launched a collection by Stella McCartney and, in November 2006, by avant-garde Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf.

In March 2007, it launched another collaboration designed by the pop star Madonna. [11] In June 2007 the company worked with game developers Maxis to create a stuff pack for the latter's The Sims 2 computer game, H&M Fashion Stuff . [12]

In November 2007, the company launched a collection by Italian designer Roberto Cavalli. It was reported that the clothing sold out quite quickly. Also in 2007, another design with Kylie Minogue was launched in Shanghai, China. [13] In the spring of 2008 the Finnish company Marimekko was selected as guest designer and was followed by Japanese Comme des Garçons in the fall.

For spring and summer 2009, the British designer Matthew Williamson created two exclusive ranges for the company – the first being a collection of women's clothes released in selected stores. The second collection saw Williamson branch into menswear for the first time, only in selected stores. The second collection additionally featured swimwear for men and women and was available in every company store worldwide. [14]

On 14 November 2009, the company released a limited-edition diffusion collection by Jimmy Choo featuring shoes and handbags, ranging from £30 to £170 including a range of men's shoes. The collection additionally included clothing designed by Choo for the first time, a large number of garments made from suede and leather, and was available in 200 stores worldwide, including London's Oxford Circus store. [15] Sonia Rykiel additionally collaborated with the company, by designing a ladies knitwear and lingerie range that was released in selected company stores on 5 December 2009.

For Fall 2010, the company collaborated with French fashion house Lanvin [16] for its 2010 guest designer.

For Spring/Summer 2011, the company collaborated with fashion blogger Elin Kling, which was available at selected stores only.

In June 2011, H&M announced a collaboration plan with Versace, that was released on 19 November. Versace additionally planned a Spring collaboration with H&M that was only be available in countries with online sales.Similar to previous collaborations Versace agreed to let H&M use the renowned name of the company for a previously agreed upon sum,without actually having a role in the design process [17]

In November 2011, H&M announced a collaboration plan with Marni, that launched in March 2012. The campaign was directed by award-winning director Sofia Coppola. [18]

On 4 October 2012, Japanese Vogue editor Anna Dello Russo launched an accessories collection at H&M as Paris Fashion Week drew to an end. The collection was stocked in 140 H&M stores worldwide and additionally sold through the H&M website [19]

On 12 June 2012 H&M confirmed that it will launch a collaboration with avant-garde label Maison Martin Margiela for a fall rollout. The Maison Martin Margiela collection for H&M hit stores on 15 November 2012.

Isabel Marant was a collaboration designer for Fall 2013 and for the first time made a men's collection to accompany the women's collection. The collaboration was sold out quite in cities across the globe and was heavily anchored in sales online as well.

Alexander Wang was announced as a collaboration to be released 6 November 2014 across the world to a select 250 stores. The announcement came throughout the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California and will be the first collaboration with an American designer.

Beyoncé was the face of H&M in summer 2013. Her campaign, which began in May 2013 was entitled "Mrs. Carter in H&M", and drew heavily on Knowles' personal style.

Balmain was announced as the next collaboration with H&M. The collection was released in November 2015. The announcement came from Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing's Instagram page.

In 2016, it was confirmed that the next collaboration with H&M would be with Kenzo. The designer line will be out on November 3, 2016


The branding consultancy Interbrand ranked the company as the twenty-first most-valuable global brand in 2009 and 2010, [20] making it the highest-ranked retailer in the survey. Its worth has been estimated at $12–16 billion. [3] [3]

The full company name Hennes & Mauritz was rebranded to H&M to simplify worldwide perception of the brand.

The company owns the two-letter domain hm.com . The domain was registered in the early 1990s, but data on the first registration is lost. In 1998 Hennes & Mauritz was able to buy the domain hm.com from a company called A1 in a non-published domain transaction.

In addition to the H&M brand, the company consists of five additional brands.

In June 2015, H&M announced the preparation of a new brand. This new "mystery" label can be launched in 2017. The Swedish group hasn't given details yet, but just declared that it "will be completely different from H&M". [3]

COS (Collection of Style)

Launched with a catwalk show at the Royal Academy in 2007, [3] COS is an up-market brand positioned at a slightly higher price point to that ordinarily associated with H&M's fast fashion offerings. COS is currently operating globally with a total of 157 stores worldwide and e-commerce in 19 markets. [25]

& Other Stories was launched in 2013 and has 20 stores in 10 markets and e-commerce in 13 at stories.com. The store 'is a fashion brand offering women a wide range of shoes, bags, accessories, beauty and ready-to-wear to create their personal style, or story.' [3]

FaBric Scandinavien AB

In 2008 H&M purchased 60 percent of shares in the Swedish fashion company, FaBric Scandinavien AB, and bought the remaining shares in 2010 with price totalling SEK 552 million in cash. The company's three brands, Cheap Monday, Monki and Weekday continue to be run as separate concepts. [3]

Cheap Monday

Cheap Monday, known for its distinctive skull logo, is a full fashion brand and was launched in 2004. [3] The brand is available from a large number of retailers worldwide as well as its own stores and e-commerce site cheapmonday.com.


Monki is "a wild and crazy international retail concept that believes that, it needs to fight ordinary and boost imagination with an experience out of the ordinary". [3] The brand sells fashion for young women in stores in 13 markets, and is available online in 18 markets at monki.com.


Weekday, styled as WEEKDAY, 'carries in-house brands like MTWTFSS WEEKDAY and Weekday Collection as well as external brands. The brand has stores in 5 markets and is available online in 18 markets at weekday.com.

Home furnishing

In a press release, the company announced that it would begin selling home furnishings. [30] As of 2009, it was distributed exclusively by the company's internet catalogue, so it is only available in countries where H&M is sold online, like Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the UK, and now the United States. There are H&M home stores located in New York, New Orleans, Boston, Washington DC, and Denver. The first H&M Home in North America opened in México in March 2013.

Labour practices

In August 2011, nearly 200 workers passed out in one week at a Cambodian factory supplying H&M. Fumes from chemicals, poor ventilation, malnutrition and even "mass hysteria" have all been blamed for making workers ill. The minimum wage in Cambodia is the equivalent of just $66 (£42) a month, a level that human rights groups say isn't even half that required to meet basic needs. [31]

On 2 January 2013, The Ecologist reported [32] allegations by Anti-Slavery International that H&M is continuing its association with Daewoo in exploiting child and adult forced labour as cotton harvesters in Uzbekistan. [33]

Bangladeshi and international labour groups in 2011 put forth a detailed safety proposal which entailed the establishment of independent inspections of garment factories. The plan called for inspectors to have the power to close unsafe factories. The proposal entailed a legally binding contract between suppliers, customers and unions. At a meeting in 2011 in Dhaka, major European and North American retailers, including H&M, rejected the proposal. Further efforts by unions to advance the proposal after numerous and deadly factory fires have been rejected. [34] After the 2013 Savar building collapse H&M and additional retailers signed on to the Accord on Factory and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

On 19 May 2013, a textile factory that produced apparel for H&M in Phnom Penh, Cambodia collapsed injuring several people. [35] The incident has raised concerns regarding industrial safety regulations.

On 25 November 2013, H&M's global head of sustainability committed [36] [37] that H&M, as the world's second-largest clothing retailer, will aim to pay all textile workers "living wage" by 2018, stating that governments are responding too slowly to poor working conditions in Bangladesh amongst additional Asian countries where a large number of clothing retailers source a majority if not all of their garments.

Wages were increased in Bangladesh from 3,000 taka ($40) to 5,300 taka ($70) a month in late 2013. [38]

The Guardian wrote that in a conscious actions sustainability report for 2012, H&M published a list of factories supplying 95 percent of its garments. Most retailers and brands don't share this information, citing commercial confidentiality as a reason. [39]

In April 2014, H&M joined Zara and additional apparel companies in changing their supply chain to avoid endangered forests. H&M teamed with Canopy, a non-profit, to remove endangered and ancient forests from their dissolvable pulp supply chain for their viscose and rayon fabrics. [5]

In June 2016, SumOfUs launched a campaign to pressure H&M to honour its commitment to protect Bangladesh's garment workers which it had signed onto following the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh in 2013 which killed over 1100 people, mostly garment workers in unsafe factories housed in an eight-storey building not designed for factories. SumOfUs alleged that "H&M is drastically behind schedule in fixing the safety hazards its workers have to face every day." [5]


On January 6, 2010, it was reported that unsold or refunded clothing and additional items in one New York City store were cut up before being discarded, presumably to prevent resale or use. [5]

On January 24, 2012, H&M was reported to have stolen an artist's work, using it on multiple items without compensating the artist. [5]

In August 2013, the Swedish fashion chain withdrew faux-leather headdresses from Canadian stores after consumers complained the items, part of the company's summer music festival collection, were insulting to Canada's aboriginal peoples. [5]


By 2012 H&M had raised over US$4.5 million through a 5-year partner programme with UNICEF.

Starting in February 2013, H&M will offer patrons a voucher in exchange for used garments. Donated garments will be processed by I:CO, a retailer that repurposes and recycles used clothing with the goal of creating a zero-waste economy. The initiative is similar to a clothes-collection voucher programme launched in April 2012 by Marks & Spencer in partnership with Oxfam. [5] [5] [5]

In August 2015, H&M announced that it will award a million-euro annual prize to advance recycling technology and techniques. [5]