H&M blamed sloppy weather in Europe and North America for a sharp fall in profits for the Swedish retail giant’s first quarter. Profits dropped 10% versus the same period of 2012. Sales were up a paltry 2%. In fact, H&M’s profit growth has been pretty weak for the last couple of years. Here’s a look.
But help is on the way! Or rather, lying seductively on a beach!
H&M announced today that Beyoncé will appear in television and print ad campaigns touting H&M’s summer collection, and released the above picture to prove it.
The move is part of H&M’s attempt to overhaul its cheap-chic image, given that the company is being priced out of the lower-end of the market by retailers like Primark in the UK. It also can’t compete with some of its competitors in the “fast fashion” scene because of its longer supply chain. (Inditex, owner of the Zara chain, is able to source and offer new trends in its stores more quickly.) H&M has launched the brand Cos and Monki, and this month launched & Other Stories, aimed at wealthier shoppers. Actress Helen Hunt wore an outfit from its new high-end eco-friendly clothing line to the Oscars last month.
It’ll be an interesting test of Beyoncé’s marketing firepower to see if H&M sales and profits can climb back into respectably positive territory. Strangely enough, forcing America to watch David Beckham in his skivvies during the Superbowl didn’t seem to do the trick.