Fashion retail brand H&M registered Rs 1,700 crore sales in 2019, 14 per cent higher year-on-year (YoY) from Rs 1,490 crore it had posted a year ago. Since its entry in 2015, the Swedish brand has managed to grow its business in India by double digits.
However, in 2019, its growth fell significantly from the previous year. In 2018, its top line had grown 43 per cent.
According to its country manager for India, Janne Einola, in the current year, its top line may suffer.
With the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns severely impacting on-floor shopping, Einola expects to end the year at a lower level than last year.
“During the first nine months, we have suffered sales loss to the tune of 31 per cent. Currently, our operations here are at the 50 per cent level. I don’t think we will be able to touch last year’s sales numbers in 2020,” he said. H&M follows a December to November financial year calendar.
The impact was also felt on its short-term plans. While in 2018 and 2019, it had opened eight and 12 stores, respectively, this year it is opening only two outlets in Bhubaneswar and Lucknow. This will take its store count to 50, spread across 25 cities in India.
While H&M was heavily dependent on the online channel for sales, the recent crisis has increased its dependence on the channel further.
In 2019, it got nearly a quarter of its sales from the two online channels – Myntra marketplace and its own online store. “The share of online will continue to remain high for the moment, until the situation normalises,” said Einola.
To support its business, H&M is launching its global loyalty programme in India and hopes that it will bring more consumers on board.