Sweden’s fast fashion giant H&M is set to open an outlet in a hypermarket in South Korea, making a foray into a new distribution channel to better appeal to the masses.
H&M will open its 29th Korean store on Sept. 20 at a Homeplus hypermarket in Bucheon, west of Seoul, according to various sources from the retail and fashion industry on Monday.
This is its second opening this year after the Daejeon outlet in May and marks its first hypermarket venture in Korea. Since breaking into the Korean market in 2010, it has mainly operated as stand-alone stores or shop-in-shops in department stores or shopping malls.
The Bucheon store will span 1,535 square meters and offer a wide selection of female, male and kids clothing.
Industry experts say this would be an ideal tie-up for both retailers, helping the hypermarket struggling from stagnant sales to drive more foot traffic and the fashion brand to gain easier access to family customers.
H&M Group has been enjoying stellar growth in Korea. It hit the 100 billion won ($89.7 million) sales milestone in 2013 after just three years of operation in the country. Three years later, sales nearly doubled to 207.4 billion won. Last year, it saw its revenue jump another 15 percent to reach 238.6 billion won.
The Swedish brand’s move into hypermarkets is expected to intensify competition with its Japanese rival Uniqlo, which had embraced the mass-market retailer as a key part of its distribution strategy ever since its entry into Korea in 2005. Uniqlo currently has presence in all three hypermarket majors in Korea, with 21 shops in Lotte Mart, 19 in Homeplus and five in E-mart.
By Bang Young-duk and Kim Hyo-jin
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]