H&M's off-price multi-label chain Afound set for Swedish June opening
H&M’s newest retail brand Afound has revealed the opening dates for its first two stores with the company choosing to debut in its domestic market rather than in London as has been its choice for new chains in recent years.
The brand will launch in Stockholm and Malmö, the former opening its doors on June 14 at Drottninggatan 53, while the Malmö store will open two days later at Södergatan 28. The company will also begin selling online at the same time. H&M said the store debuts are part of a long-term strategy “aimed at establishing Afound in the majority of Swedish towns,” and this will see additional store launches happening in Gothenburg, Skärholmen and Kristianstad later this year. The strategy shift in terms of the opening plans comes as H&M’s overall strategy for the brand veers from its regular approach of finding a gap in the full-price market and filling it with a high-profile chain. By contrast, Afound will sell only discounted fashion/lifestyle products, with both external labels and the H&M group’s own brands being included. And moving away from the norm is clearly a popular approach at the retail giant at the moment. Its new Nyden brand is also thinking differently as it adopts a start-up mentality, shuns traditional seasons and works with “tribe leaders” and “co-creators”. ‘Thinking differently’ for Afound will mean creating “an innovative marketplace in the off-price sector with a relevant, curated and inspirational offering,” its creative director Mattias Ekberg said. "We have focused strongly on the experience in both the physical and the digital store. Some people might call us an outlet, but our vision is for the customer to experience a style and deal-hunting paradise.” The Stockholm store is located on one of the highest footfall shopping streets in the Nordic region. The company said shoppers will move from a “welcoming street-level entrance down to lower, larger floors offering an inspiring selection for both men and women.” The Malmö store is located in the heart of the city in a historic stone building that previously housed a bookstore, with large street windows and a retail area spread over two floors. Afound MD Fredrik Svartling said: “We want to make it easy for our customers by being where they are, whether it’s digitally or in selected physical stores, and by offering a range tailored to local demand. We will be offering a large number of attractive brands at really good prices.”