H&M in Hot Pursuit

Hot on the heels of the recent H&M openings in Pembroke Pines, Wellington, West Palm Beach and Orlando last fall, Doral is now getting a piece of the on-trend wallet-friendly fashion action. As of May 29, 2014, Miami International Mall is home to a 22,000 square foot H&M offering collections for ladies, men, children, with separate “store within store” sections for accessories, lingerie and sports apparel. We chat up U.S. President for H&M Daniel Kulle on the retail tour de force’s success, secrets and more.

Within the last year alone, H&M entered the South Florida market with a substantial amount of stores — why was Miami International Mall chosen as your next candidate? The Southeast is a strong and important market for H&M. We have had an amazing response from customers with each store we have opened in Florida. We believe there is continued potential in South Florida and our new location at Miami International will allow us to offer more customers in the Miami metropolitan area access to our quality collections for the whole family.    

How will the Miami International Mall store differentiate itself from the other South Florida doors? One of the keys to our success is that most of our product range (around 80 percent) is the same on all markets around the world. We want to be able to offer our customers the same fashionable assortment whether they are in New York, L.A., Miami, Boston or any store across the country.   

Many shoppers are unfamiliar with H&M’s global garment recycling program. How can they participate? H&M is actually the first fashion company to create a global garment collecting initiative. This is an amazing and incredibly easy program; customers can simply bring their old or unwanted clothes to any H&M store and drop them in our H&M Recycles containers to be recycled into new garments.  We are very proud to be able to facilitate this amazing and easy way to reduce waste and help the environment. Customers who bring their unwanted garments to any H&M store will receive a voucher for 15 percent  off their entire purchase for each bag of donated clothing.

Tell us something about the H&M’s ethos which the Average Joe does not know: H&M is a design-driven company. In Stockholm at our head office, we have approximately 160 in-house designers that together with almost 100 pattern makers, design assistants and print designers work to create our own collections for every department. We always aspire to create fashion that offers something to all of our customers — to be at the forefront and deliver a good balance between modern basics, current fashion and the very latest trends.   

Most consumers do not know the names behind the brand — Hennes & Mauritz. Who, exactly, are these individuals? In 1947, the company’s founder Erling Persson opened his first shop and called it “Hennes,” which exclusively sold women’s clothing. “Hennes” is Swedish and means “for her.” In 1968 the hunting apparel retailer Mauritz Widforss was acquired by Hennes, which led to the name change to “Hennes & Mauritz” (H&M). Currently, the H&M Group is comprised of six independent brands: H&M, COS, Monki, Weekday, Cheap Monday and & Other Stories.   

Today, 3,200 stores are spread across 54 markets worldwide, meaning the store you first opened in Sweden in 1947 has become a global fashion giant. In your opinion, what is the secret to H&M’s? I think it’s a mix of our accessibility to our customers, our clothes which always offer the newest styles, and our affordable prices. We are always on top of the latest trends and really strive to provide our customers with best fashion, all at great value. Also, our global initiatives such as our Conscious Collections, garment collecting program and sustainability practices, show our customers that we care not only about them but our impact on the planet as well.  

In addition to the most recent Miami International Mall opening, will South Florida see another H&M store popping open soon? The U.S. is one of the biggest expansion markets for the company and we plan to continue our strong rate of growth across the country in 2014.  South Florida is one of the markets where we see strong potential. If we continue to identify ideal business locations for our stores then we can see potential in opening more stores in this region. Having the right location is so important that we would rather hold off from opening a new store and wait until the right location becomes available.