Swedish retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) has entered into a partnership with Flipkart-owned fashion marketplaces Myntra and Jabong to sell its merchandise online in India.
A spokesperson for H&M told ET that the collaboration will be important to H&M’s existing physical and digital stores in India. The world’s second largest fashion retailer had launched its e-commerce store in the country a year ago.
H&M’s latest move makes India the second nation after China where it is not solely relying on its own portal to push online sales. “We will continue to open new stores and develop hm.com,” said Janne Einola, country manager at H&M India, in an emailed response to ET’s query on the matter.
While the company did not divulge any details, people aware of the matter said the deal will give Myntra and Jabong exclusive rights to sell H&M products online in India for five-six years. Products start getting listed in the next three-four months. “With this collaboration, we are focused on bringing the best of fashion across India and launching H&M’s latest trends,” said Amar Nagaram, head of Myntra and Jabong, which together have some 15 million customers.
While Myntra and Jabong have exclusive rights over eight other global fashion brands for online sales, the latest tie-up with H&M has been structured differently to comply with recent regulations that don’t allow marketplaces to enter exclusive deals with brands.
For H&M India, sales growth of over 29% last year was lower than that in the preceding years, when it had doubled its business each year. However, H&M’s online performance does not mirror the scorching pace of sales growth of its brick-and-mortar business.
“Customers are not going to independent websites and it’s a problem that exists across the board. Based on the data we collect, there’s not much traction for H&M’s online channel. Even Zara launched its online store around the same time, but it’s the same story with them,” said Satish Meena, senior forecast analyst at Forrester.
Myntra had signed master franchise deals with Mango and Esprit to not only market products online but also to run their offline stores and manage the brand’s partnership with multi-brand offline retailers. The move to tap global brands both online and offline was a strategy led by Myntra’s former CEO Ananth Narayanan, who quit the company earlier this year following restructuring at Walmart-owned parent company Flipkart.