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Karl-Johan Persson

President and CEO, H&M Group

Karl-Johan Persson’s turnaround plan for H&M Group started to bear fruit in 2019. The retailer reduced discounting, underwent a store optimisation programme to find the right mix of stores, and increased its focus on sustainability.

H&M Group, which comprises H&M, Monki, Weekday, Arket and & Other Stories, increased its net sales by 11% to SEK171bn (£14bn) in the nine months to 31 August, as it continues to grow its market share. Profit after financial items grew by 6% to SEK12bn (£987m), while its gross profit increased 11% to SEK89.2bn (£7.3bn).

The group consolidated its store portfolio in established markets and expanded in growth markets. Around 170 stores will have closed by the end of 2019, but 290 new stores, including franchises are planned to open.

It also launched on new channels this year, including the introduction of & Other Stories to Chinese ecommerce platform Tmall.

Meanwhile, the H&M brand announced it is to test selling external brands and products, as & Other Stories and Arket do already.

Persson has been one of the leading voices in sustainable fashion. He says fashion “must reduce [its] environmental impact” but the industry must continue to create jobs and support its workforce. To this end, the group launched a clothing take-back scheme in all Arket stores this autumn.

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