H&M Prioritizes Tech

Amid troubling times for fast-fashion and brick-and-mortar stores, apparel behemoth Hennes & Mauritz AB pledged Thursday to cater to its customers, concentrate on sustainability, and invest in technology like artificial intelligence.
In its third-quarter earnings results, the Swedish apparel behemoth said that its costs rose by SEK2.67 billion (EUR246.7 million) in the third quarter of the year, as it concentrates on lowering inventory and upgrading customer service features across the board.
Creating robust scalable platforms that enable faster development of various consumer apps, new technology, and initiatives within advanced data analytics and AI were among the company’s tech priorities for the near term.
Later this year, customers will be able to shop online from its other brands – COS, Weekday, Monki, & Other Stories, and ARKET – in up to 70 new markets.
“Customer focus is our highest priority. We are therefore continuing to invest in the best combination of fashion, quality, price, and sustainability,” the company said in a statement, adding that it aims to continue the roll out of Click & Collect, its in-store returns, flexible payment options, as well as services aimed at sustainability and reuse.
As fast fashion faces growing criticism for its failure to reduce overstock, massive inventory, and textile waste, H&M and Inditex have not gone unscathed. H&M has struggled to drive its sustainable strategy and promote its circular initiatives like its garment collection services.
In addition, while others are shuttering their physical stores due to a retail slowdown and its peers like Forever 21 file for bankruptcy, H&M, which is controlled by the founding Persson family, said it will still continue to expand.
The company is prioritizing “continued expansion with a focus on growth markets,” it said.
Following the results, its shares hit their highest level in almost two years. Its third quarter sales rose 12 percent on the year, and its net profit beat analyst expectations at SEK3.86 billion (EUR356.9 million) versus SEK3.1 billion in the June 1 to August 30 period a year earlier.
After the company’s conference call, analysts said that it was the company’s first strong quarterly results in over four years.

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