SM Bringing In Retailer H&M

The SM Group and H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M), the world's second largest apparel-retailer, are in early stages of discussion for the establishment of the popular H&M clothing brand in the country.

Should the talks prosper, an official of the Department of Trade and Industry said, this would be SM's third major global apparel brand that it has partnered with for local retailing in its malls, the first two being Forever 21, a mostly female American fast fashion brand retailer, and Uniqlo, the popular Japanese-owned clothing retailer.

Since the discussion is still at its very early stage, it is not yet certain how the partnership would take form.

In the case of Uniqlo, the Japanese holding firm Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. and SM Retail, Inc. formed a joint venture to form Fast Retailing Philippines Inc. to bring in the brand. The Japanese retailer holds the majority 75 percent stake and the SM Group with the remaining 25 percent. A similar joint venture structure was formed between Forever 21 and the SM Group.

Under the Philippines Retail Act, each retail outlet would be required with a minimum investment of $830,000. So far, Forever 21 has four outlets while Uniqlo has two in major SM malls in the metropolis initially.

The entry of the Swedish-owned H&M in the country has been much anticipated. It is another popular label to the brand-conscious Filipino consumers. The H&M Group has a total of six different independent brands - H&M, Monki, COS, Weekday, Cheap Monday, and Other Stories. Globally, it has 2,800 stores in 48 markets with total employes of 104,000 people.

Its first H&M outlet could be located in the SM Aura, a high-end commercial development that the Henry Sy conglomerate is putting up in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

The SM Aura complex is expected to feature a convention center. It will also have a Radissson Blu-Global City Hotel, a BPO building and office building. SM Aura will also house the fifth IMAX Theatre in the country.