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Poor performance leaves H&M longing for online dominance

02 February 2018 - 10:00 by Graham Miller

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Although it may be one of the world’s biggest fashion outlets, H&M did not have a good 2017 and its chief exec, Karl-Johan Persson, has blamed a lack of foresight for this state of affairs, according to the Financial Times.

Persson admitted that his company had not been quick enough to adapt to the rising impact of safe shopping online, leaving it overly reliant on bricks and mortar sales at a time when retail growth is increasingly led by digital platforms.

He explained that fewer people were visiting bricks and mortar stores, with clothing fans instead choosing to browse and buy the latest items on the web.

This left H&M in a tricky situation, as while it reported a four per cent uptick in sales last year, its profits actually fell by over a tenth.

The entire industry surrounding the world of fashion is undergoing serious alterations at the moment, Persson argues. This makes it vital for retailers to alter their tactics and cater to customers who prefer safe shopping online to high street outings.

In 2018 and beyond, H&M will be looking to expand its digital presence, especially in Asia where the growth in e-commerce sales is especially strong at the moment.

In spite of the apparent problems that the company is facing at the moment, Persson said that 2017 had been a year of small but significant improvements which would likely pay dividends in years to come. Most of all it seems significant that the boss of a major organisation like this was willing to face up to failures of his firm, rather than brushing them under the carpet.