London - The rumors have proven to be true - Swedish fashion giant Hennes & Maurtiz is set to launch Afound, an off-price marketplace in 2018. The move sees the H&M group going head to head with leading online marketplaces (as well as offline), as the retail giant aims to create a “style-and deal-hunting paradise” which offers discounted fashion and lifestyle products.
Afound will feature both external brands, as well as H&M’s own brands, including a wide range of well-known, popular brands for men and women, according to a statement. H&M has yes to specify which brands these will be, but a spokesperson has confirmed to FashionUnited that a list of all participating brands will be released closer to the launch date. The off-price marketplace is set to offer a selection of season-less products from both Swedish and international brands from a broad price spectrum in both online and in physical stores.
H&M Group to launch off-price marketplace concept: Afound
The new concept will also offer unique, limited product releases from a range of brands, all set at an appealing price to the consumer. “We see big potential for Afound and are looking forward to introducing the marketplace to our audience in Sweden in 2018. Afound cares about both the value of the products and the mix. And by offering personal style inspiration, quality labels, and the sense that you’re getting a really good deal, Afound will offer a new form of off-price experience”, said Fredrik Svartling, Managing Director of Afound in a statement.
H&M is set to launch its new retail concept online as well as in traditional brick and mortar store, starting in Sweden in 2018. The first Afound store to open is set to be located on Drottninggatan in Stockholm and its opening will coincide with the launch of Afound’s digital marketplace in Sweden. The launch of Afound comes not long after speculation concerning H&M new retail concept first emerged. A report from Swedish news website Breakit stated that H&M was working on a new digital project under the code name "P12".
At the time H&M was said to be working with NA-KD, one of Scandinavia's fastest growing online fashion stores, to create a new sales platform which would offer consumers the best deals for branded apparel. H&M had reportedly already signed on 63 brands, although the exact brands have yet to be confirmed.
The announcement concerning the launch of Afound comes as H&M reveals its results for the full financial year to November 30, 2017. As sales continue to grow for the entire H&M Group, increasing 4 percent with VAT to 231,771 million SEK, the Swedish fashion giantturns its focus to strengthening its digital arm. In order to keep up with the fashion industry’s ever-changing pace and to increase its market share, H&M is branching out into new concepts, like Afound.“We constantly work on new ideas and innovations that will drive us forward – and there are many in our pipeline for 2018 and the years to come,” said Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of the H&M Group in a statement.
Photo: H&M, Afound