H&M heads to regional cities

H&MSwedish retailer H&M will expand into regional cities with stores to launch at both Wollongong Central and Grand Central, Toowoomba.

Both stores are set to open later this year. More information about the new stores will be provided prior to opening.

Sean Sands, managing director at ACRS at Monash Business School, anticipates that the success H&M has enjoyed in its capital city stores will be replicated when it enters the Wollongong and Toowoomba regional centres.

“I expect H&M will do extremely well in regional areas, based on their price point and fashion focus,” Sands told Inside Retail. “They will be serving a market that is somewhat underserved, both on price and fashion in some instances.”

While it has taken H&M two years to move into regional markets, Sands says this was necessitated by the company’s need to get to know the market first. And he firmly believes the fast fashion brand will continue to establish itself with more regional stores in due course.

“Many overseas brands come here and expect there to be little difference in shopper behaviour, but the [Australian] market is somewhat unique in shopping behaviour, style and taste to somewhere like Europe,” Sands said. “I expect [H&M] expansion into regional areas that are well serviced by good retail centres, have strong retail prospects and a lack of competitive offer in terms of price and fashion.”

H&M’s announcement of its regional expansion follows on from the announcement two new stores will open in Melbourne at Pacific Werribee and Chadstone Shopping Centre later this year. A store at Charlestown Square, Newcastle will also open July 14. Further stores to open include Broadway Sydney and Westfield Bondi, both opening in August.

H&M, which entered the Australian market in 2014, now has 10 stores nationwide; Melbourne’s GPO and Eastland Shopping Centre in VIC, Macquarie Centre, North Ryde, Chatswood Westfield and Pitt Street Mall in NSW, Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, Westfield Garden City, Pacific Fair, Gold Coast and Queen Street, Brisbane in QLD and Joondalup Shopping Centre in WA.

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