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Swedish clothing giant H&M arrives in Indonesia
Publication Date : 13-10-2013
Jakarta-based stylist Dewi Oetari no longer needs to leave the country to hunt out the newest products by Swedish retailer H&M as on Octobrt 5 the ready to wear clothing line opened its first store at Gandaria City mall in South Jakarta.
The Gandaria City store, which measures approximately 2,400 metres square, is only the start of an ambitious expansion plan by the retailer as it will also open a second store at Pondok Indah Mall as well as a flagship store at the Grand Indonesia shopping mall by March next year.
At the opening of its Gandaria City-store H&M showcased its 2013 autumn collections; drama with a tomboy spirit for women while contrasting dark shapes and earthy tones for men.
The second store, which occupies 1,700 square metres of Pondok Indah Mall, opened on Wednesday and the flagship store, which will be 4,000 square metres, is set to further cater for forward fashion Indonesian H&M addicts.
“Indonesian fashionistas have been waiting for H&M to arrive here, especially those who would go abroad to buy the products. We can now update our collection of H&M products at home,” Dewi told The Jakarta Post recently.
The launch of H&M will provide more alternatives for medium-end fashion enthusiasts, in addition to other players with a foothold in the domestic market such as American clothing retailer Forever 21, Japanese UNIQLO and Spanish Zara.
H&M was established 66 years ago would likely have a “bright” future here, as Dewi put it, because it would offer items at a more affordable price compared to the competitors.
“H&M is really fashion for all because of its affordability. I just bought a hat that cost 50,000 rupiah (US$4.50) and other products start from 100,000 rupiah ($8.80)” Dewi said.
Although H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson said that “H&M is for anyone who is interested in fashion”, it was apparent that the brand would most win the heart of Indonesian youth, teenagers in particular, due to the price tags.
Indonesia’s fast growing economy will continuously nurture the people’s purchasing power, including the parents of Indonesian teenagers, which according to the National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) hit more than 70 million in March this year.
This will open the door for teenagers to access fashion as well as many others in this country of 250 million.
But, Persson claimed that business expansion was not the only plan H&M had for Indonesia.
“We have set a profit target for Indonesia — as we in all markets. But, at the same time we are investing in sustainability, not only in Sweden, but all over the world,” Persson said.
“We also focus on sustainability because we believe that is right. We have done this for our Swedish customers and aim to do the same everywhere. We want to be the a responsible company,” he added.
Head of H&M’s fashion and sustainability division, Catarina Midby ensured that the company clearly passed on the commitment for sustainability to its partners and suppliers at all around the globe.
Midby told Indonesian journalists during a recent visit to H&M headquarters in Stockholm that H&M worked to the three P values: people, planet and profit.
“We are committed to direct sustainability work in the right direction...We have to work hard with the products you find in our stores to make them more and more sustainable,” Midby said.
“We also carefully choose our partners globally and communicate this code of conduct to them. We reward those who perform best for example by giving them more business and long term partnership,” she added.
Among H&M’s eco-initiatives, Midby cited the company’s Conscious Collection that uses environmentally friendly fabrics made from organic cotton, cellulose fiber and recycled plastic bottles.
Midby explained that H&M had developed a used garments collecting initiative in collaboration with i-Collect to encourage people to reuse or recycle their garments.
“People can come and leave their used garments at H&M stores. They receive a voucher for doing so, while we take care of those garments,” Midby said, adding that such initiative was among the company’s efforts to be less reliable on natural resources.
H&M has placed such i-Collect initiative boxes at its stores in around Stockholm, and as Midby said, is determined to carry out similar program the stores in Indonesia in order to change customers’ consumption behavior.
Regardless, H&M’s business target and noble initiative, distinguished fashion specialist Samuel Mulia told the Post that, like other foreign fashion companies that have previously entered Indonesia, the brand would contribute little to develop “the taste of fashion” in the country.
Samuel doubted that H&M would take risks and offer its full collection to the domestic market, which he deemed still conventional in terms of fashion.
“Like other international brands, it [H&M] will predictably sell clothes that are culturally, as well as normally, welcome here,” Samuel said, adding that customers might still need to go abroad to buy the more “progressive” H&M collection.
“It’s fair for a company to fulfill the demands of a market. But, if H&M wants to do more, it is challenged to showcase its full collection, including those that might considered culturally unusual. And time will tell whether or not H&M is different,” he emphasised.