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H&M Move offers functional ‘movewear’ to empower individuals of all skill levels, says Yanira Ramirez

International retailer H&M India is known for fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way. The Swedish clothing giant embarked on its journey in India in 2015 with a mission to make fashion accessible to everyone, irrespective of geographical boundaries. Since then, the company has rapidly expanded its presence across the country, leveraging its strategic focus on expanding into new cities, particularly tier I & II locations. Today, H&M India proudly stands at 62 stores across 29 cities.

In conversation with IMAGES Business of Fashion, Yanira Ramirez, Country Sales Manager, H&M India spoke about how H&M’s activewear brand, H&M Move, aims to inspire global movement in a more sustainable manner.

Excerpts from the interview…

Tell us about H&M Move.

H&M Move concept is an innovative addition to H&M Family, which was launched in August 2022. As an activewear brand, H&M Move aims to inspire global movement in a more sustainable manner. We offer a range of stylish and functional ‘movewear’ designed to empower individuals of all abilities and skill levels to move comfortably and confidently. Our products cater to various activities, from gym workouts to yoga sessions, and encourage an active lifestyle for everyone.

H&M MoveWhat sets H&M Move apart from other similar brands in the market?

H&M Move embraces the concept of movement for all. Instead of focusing solely on traditional sports or fitness activities, we celebrate movement in its various forms, making our active wear accessible to individuals of all abilities and backgrounds. Through our ‘Move Together’ community program, we actively engage with individuals to enjoy all the benefits of moving together – movement is not just encouraged but celebrated. By breaking down barriers, sharing resources, and igniting collective energy, we strive to contribute to a more inclusive world.

How many stores does H&M Move currently operates from and in which regions and markets?

There are no separate stores for H&M Move as it’s a concept. The concept is available in 19 existing H&M stores, and these stores are strategically located across various regions and markets, ensuring accessibility to our customers across India.

What are the primary fabrics used in your activewear, casual wear, and athleisure wear lines?

Our primary fabric is DRY MOVE, a blend of polyester and elastane.

What sustainability initiatives does your brand undertake?

H&M’s mission is to make it possible for everyone to look and feel good. We have always been a frontrunner in the fashion industry, continually pushing the boundaries of what more sustainable fashion can achieve. Through our global initiatives, including Garment Collect, Bring Your Own Bag, and Praline Bags, we are actively working to instigate positive changes that lead us towards a more sustainable future. One of our most significant commitments is to achieve 100% sustainability in our operations by 2030. This commitment demonstrates our unwavering dedication to environmental and social responsibility. We firmly believe that fashion and sustainability are not mutually exclusive but can be complementary.

Tell us about the partnerships and collaborations your brand has engaged in to expand its reach as well as to innovate within the market?

Globally, H&M Move actively collaborates with communities and non-profit organisations such as Laureus Sport for Good, Sport Without Borders, and Special Olympics. Recently, we have forged a partnership with the non-profit organization Women Win, aimed at advancing girls’ and women’s empowerment in sports, with a specific emphasis on football. This two-year collaboration entails H&M Move’s support for Women Win’s ONSIDE Fund, which is committed to addressing inequalities through movement.

H&M MoveAdditionally, in India, we are proud to collaborate with Special Olympics Bharat. Special Olympics is dedicated to offering year-round sports training and athletic competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, promoting physical fitness, courage, joy, and community engagement. Through this partnership, we extend an invitation to partners from all sectors to join the Coalition and contribute to the expansion of Unified programming. Together, we aim to foster solidarity and unity among youth worldwide, irrespective of their backgrounds, through the transformative power of sports.

How do you integrate offline and online channels to create a seamless omnichannel shopping experience for customers?

At H&M, our customer-centric approach is at the core of everything we do. We have diligently crafted a seamless shopping experience that allows customers to engage with us on their terms, whether through our physical stores or online platforms. Our strategy revolves around providing flexibility and convenience, ensuring that customers have the freedom to shop in a way that suits them best.

To enrich this experience, we offer omni-channel features like ‘Scan & Buy’ and ‘Image Search’, empowering customers to seamlessly transition between online and in-store shopping. This means they can confidently access our full product range anytime, anywhere. We take pride in bridging the gap between physical and digital inventories, ensuring a hassle-free shopping experience for all our customers.

A crucial aspect of our approach is maintaining consistency in content and messaging across both channels, ensuring a cohesive brand experience. Our marketing campaigns are thoughtfully designed to resonate across all platforms, reinforcing our brand identity.

H&M MoveMoreover, our customer support is readily available through various channels, including phone, email, chat, and social media, accommodating customers’ preferred communication methods. Despite differences in customer demographics, we keep uniform pricing and offers, fostering trust and demonstrating our commitment to fair pricing practices.

What are your plans for expanding your retail presence, particularly in tier II and III cities?

For H&M, expanding into the Indian market is a natural move, both in terms of physical and digital growth. We are excited about the opportunity to open more stores across the country, especially in smaller cities where there is significant potential for growth. In 2023, we had a successful end with the inauguration of 10 new stores. This year, we achieved a milestone by inaugurating four new stores in the first four months across strategic locations such as Bengaluru, featuring our inaugural Home concept in the south, Siliguri, marking our debut store in the northeast as well as in Pune, and Kochi.

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