H&M’s business concept is to offer our customers fashion and quality at the best price. At H&M, quality is about more than making sure that our products meet or exceed our customers' expectations. It also means that they have to be manufactured under good conditions and that our customers must be satisfied with us as a company. Taking responsibility for how our operations affect people and the environment is also an essential prerequisite for H&M's continued profitability and growth. This section explains how we do that.
The company was established in Västerås, Sweden, in 1947 by Erling Persson though at the time it only sold women's clothing and was called Hennes, Swedish for "hers." In 1968, Persson acquired the premises and inventory of a Stockholm hunting equipment store named Mauritz Widforss. Included in the inventory was a supply of men's clothing, prompting Persson to expand into menswear. Accordingly, he renamed the store Hennes & Mauritz, later abbreviated to H&M. Erling's son Stefan became CEO in 1990 and Chairman of the Board in 1998. Today the majority of H&M's clothing is manufactured in Asia and Europe.
In November 2004, selected H&M stores offered an exclusive collection by fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. The press reported large crowds and that the initial inventories in the larger cities were sold out within an hour, although the clothes were still available in less fashion-sensitive areas until the company redistributed them to meet with demand.
In November 2005, the chain launched a collection by Stella McCartney and, in November 2006, by avant-garde Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf. H&M launched another collaboration with Madonna in March 2007, designed by the popstar. In June 2007 the company worked with game developers Maxis to create a stuff pack for the latter's The Sims 2 computer game, H&M Fashion Stuff In November 2007, the chain launched a collection by Italian designer Roberto Cavalli. It was reported that the clothing sold out very quickly. Also in 2007, another design with Kylie Minogue was launched in Shanghai, China. In the fall of 2008 the Japanese company Comme des Garçons was selected as guest designer.
For spring and summer 2009, the British designer Matthew Williamson created 2 exclusive ranges for H&M. The first being a collection of women's clothes released in selected stores. The second collecting saw Williamson branch into menswear for the first time. The 2nd collection also featured swimwear for men and women and was available in every H&M store worldwide. From November 14 H&M released a limited edition diffusion collection with Jimmy Choo featuring shoes and handbags, ranging from £30 to £170 including a range of men's shoes.
The collection also included clothing designed by Choo for the first time, many garments made from suede and leather, and was available in 200 stores worldwide including London's Oxford Circus store. Sonia Rykiel is the latest guest designer to collaborate with H&M, after having designed a ladies knitwear and lingerie range to be released in selected H&M stores on December 5, 2009.