Swedish clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) is planning to add 175 new stores to its portfolio this year, with around 50% being for newer brands, according to a statement in its fiscal year 2018 results.
As part of the expansion, the company plans to introduce the brands to new markets such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus and Tunisia through franchising. Most of the focus will be on markets outside of Europe and the US.
The retailer will open 95 of the total stores under its COS, & Other Stories, Monki, Weekday, ARKET and Afound brands. It also plans to renegotiate nearly 1,000 store leases this year.
However, H&M is also planning to shut approximately 160 stores this year as part of its intensified store optimisation plans, including renegotiations, rebuilds and adjustment of store space.
Of the total store closures planned, H&M will shut around 50 stores in Europe by the end of this year.
In addition, H&M will focus on expanding its online presence by introducing online stores across all existing H&M markets globally. The company will introduce online stores in Mexico, as well as through franchising in Egypt.
The company currently has online presence in 47 markets that include new stores in India Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as on Tmall platform in China. All of these opened last year.
H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson said: “In parallel with our global online roll-out, we are intensifying our store portfolio optimisation and we continue the integration of physical stores and digital channels.”
Furthermore, the retailer plans to open logistics centres outside Madrid and north of London during the end of 2019 or early 2020.