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New store openings, local collaboration on the cards for H&M South Africa

Global fashion retailer H&M has announced plans for three new store openings in South Africa in 2019, and a greater focus on local partnerships in the sphere of design and social impact.
Oldouz Mirzaie, H&M South Africa.
Oldouz Mirzaie, H&M South Africa.

The Swedish clothing retailer will open its first Port Elizabeth store at Walmer Park shopping centre on 28 March, followed by its first store opening in Bloemfontein’s Loch Logan Waterfront on 11 April. Further expansion includes an H&M Home extension to its existing flagship store in Durban’s Gateway Theatre of Shopping whilst, later in the year, the brand will open another store in Johannesburg at Fourways Mall.

When the three new stores begin trading, H&M’s local workforce will increase from approximately 800 to over 900 employees across 26 South African stores, its distribution centre and offices around the country.

“H&M is dedicated to investing in the local economy through continuous job creation,” says Oldouz Mirzaie‚ H&M country manager for South Africa.

Testing local production

Mirzaie says that in addition to expansion plans, H&M is working on a "very exciting designer collaboration with a South African fashion designer", the details of which will be divulged in the next few weeks.

The retailer will also soon start testing production in South Africa and have employed a supply chain specialist into the SA organisation to drive this project forward with the support of SACTWU, EDD and the IDC.

“Each new market H&M enters brings its own set of opportunities and challenges. We’ve learnt that understanding our customers must be done even more actively; listening to what they tell us and addressing their wishes and concerns in ways that are meaningful,” says Mirzaie.

“We know that as a global brand, we carry a responsibility to not only be aware of, but to be attuned to, racial and cultural sensitivities. We’re confident that we’re putting the right strategies in place to make a real and sustainable difference and to promote inclusivity and diversity within our company and hopefully within the fashion industry.”

Since 2015 H&M has supported the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation and will continue to do so in 2019. Further relationships with the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, the Anti-Racism Network of SA and the SA Human Rights Commission, amongst others, have been formed.

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