Swedish clothing retailer H&M is scheduled to open its first Tianjin branch at the Lebin Department Store on August 25th. With this new addition, Tianjin will be home to major clothing retailer brands from all around the world, including Zara, Mango and Uniqlo.
Madge was a no-show, but the long lines lasted for weeks. The draw was her line of trench coats, kimono dresses and catsuits for the Swedish retailer H&M, which debuted on March 10 at H&M’s newest store in Hong Kong and in April at H&M in Shanghai. In these cities, shopping is as important as stargazing, and that’s why the $2 billion firm made its first moves into Asia here: H&M wants a share of China’s $60 billion apparel market. To do that it may have to redefine its trademark “cheap chic” aesthetic.
The potential of the Chinese market is so large that H&M’s need to capture it is obvious. McKinsey estimates that by 2025 there will be 220 million upper-middle-class households in China’s cities, defined as those making $5,000 to $12,500 a year, in contrast to 23 million households in 2005. Less clear for the company, says retail analyst Raphael Moreau of Euromonitor International, is “how much it will have to reinvent itself to make an impact.”