H&M Seeking more Irish Stores.

H&M, the Swedish fashion retailer which TDK assists in store acquisitions across Ireland has opened a new flagship store on College Green in Dublin, they are also seeking new locations for expansion in the Irish market and Carlos Duarte, the managing director of H&M for the UK and Ireland, said it wants to add to its store network here of 16.

The group is also seeking to expand its sister store networks, Cos, an upscale fashion retailer, and “& Other Stories”, its accessories brand.

“With H&M, we are not, for example, in Waterford or Galway, ” said Mr Duarte. “There are also more possibilities around Dublin, so there is a lot of room for expansion.”

The company this year opened a standalone Cos outlet in the former Tower Records shop on Wicklow Street in Dublin which TDK acquired on their behalf. Cos also operates as concessions in, for example, Brown Thomas in Dublin and Galway.

H&M has also said it plans to open “& Other Stories” on Grafton Street, on a site that once housed A-Wear. “Other Stories is growing fast internationally, and it always begins in the main capitals. Dublin was the obvious place to open one, but we are looking for more in Ireland. There is also a lot of room for growth in Cos, with both concessions and standalone stores,” said Mr Duarte.

He declined to say how many stores H&M is targeting for the Irish market, but said the company “wants to grow in the same way as Pennys, ” which operates internationally as Primark. “The business idea is different to Primark, but we think we have the right concept for Irish fashion shoppers, and we’re growing strongly here,” he said.

H&M, which is listed in Stokholm and has about 3,500 stores globally, reported reported sales in Ireland between June and August of 207 million Swedish Krona (€21.8 million), up a third on the same period last year.

With its new Dublin flagship store which TDK negotiated the acquisition on, the company is on target to breach the €85 million mark in Irish revenues over 12 months. Its total sales Ireland in the year to the end of November 2013 were €60.5 million. H&M’s new store is housed in the listed old National Irish bank outlet on College Green, which it rents from the property developer Paddy McKillen for about €830,000 annually. The store is located on the fringes of the traditional fashion shopping precinct that surrounds Grafton Street, although Abercrombie & Fitch is located nearby. Mr Duarte said the company is confident it can attract its young, budget-conscious target market to the area. “Abercrombie & Fitch is able to do it. We think it’s the right location,” he said.

He said the 25,000 sq ft outlet, is one of nine similarly-designed flagships in its global network. As well as H&M’s range of budget-priced fashion, it also includes a “shoe lounge”.

(Source Irish Times 19 December 2014)