H&M Joins Uniqlo in Voicing Confidence Over China Amid Slowdown

Hennes & Mauritz AB is approaching the opening of its 300th store in China as the Swedish retailer sees its brand of affordable clothes appealing to cost-conscious shoppers in the slowing economy.

H&M will open more than 70 outlets in mainland China in the fiscal year ending November 2015, adding to the 232 it had at the end of the previous year, Magnus Olsson, country manager for Greater China, said in an interview on Tuesday in Hong Kong. The increase compares with the 68 stores H&M added in the country last fiscal year.

Olsson’s confidence echoes that of billionaire Tadashi Yanai, chairman of Uniqlo-operator Fast Retailing Co., who said on Saturday he saw “absolutely no impact” from China’s slowdown. They’re examples that not everyone is worried about China’s economy, which is heading for its slowest growth in a quarter century.

“The customer tells us that they really enjoy spending with H&M, they plan to shop more in future,” Olsson said. “Those signs we think override some other maybe noise in the market place right now. We’re humble but confident.”

Largest Asia Store

H&M shares have fallen 8.1 percent year to date, underperforming the benchmark OMX Stockholm 30 Index’s 5 percent drop. The Swedish retailer, which has more than 3,600 outlets worldwide, will open its largest Asian store in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay on Oct. 30.

H&M’s average sales per store in China will decline as the company expands to cities in the country smaller than Shanghai and Beijing, said Charles Allen, a London-based analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

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