One of the most loved, and second largest clothing retailer, H&M has launched a new brand, Arket, which will feature a modern-day market setup. It will retail its own products alongside a selection of products from non-H&M brands. It will be priced slightly higher than H&M, and the first Arket store will open doors on London’s Regent Street in late summer or early autumn of this year.
“Starting this project, a little bit over two years ago, we did quite extensive research and what we clearly saw was a broad customer base out there who are looking for classic, quality products in an environment that should be both simple and inspiring, but also putting our own fantastic design together with complementary brands,” said Lars Axelsson, Arket’s managing director, to BoF. “Today the customer is very busy. They are looking for convenience, but also a place that they can really enjoy.”
This led to the market setup, where fashion savvy customers will be able to enjoy a multi-brand experience, with brands that resonate with Arket’s DNA – timeless, crisp, quality and warmth. It will retail a broad yet selected range of essentials for men, women and children, as well as a smaller, curated assortment for the home
Ulrika Bernhardtz, Arket’s creative director, said, “Timeless is style beyond trend. And crisp is the counterpart to that: to be always relevant, modern and fresh. Quality is not only the feel of garments; it’s also how they are produced. Warmth is about being genuine and personal.”
Alongside Arket’s debut in London, the brand will simultaneously start trading online in 18 European countries, with additional stores to follow in Brussels, Copenhagen and Munich. “We are looking into more cities obviously, but our main focus is Europe and we are starting there.”
Select Arket stores will include a café concept featuring ‘new Nordic’ cuisine. “We are adding on a café that will make the modern-day market a destination where you can both shop and enjoy healthy food,” explained Bernhardtz.
The move is part of previously announced plans to “launch one or two new brands in 2017” and comes at a time of expansion for the world’s second largest clothing retailer, which is set to open 430 new stores this financial year, including outposts in new markets like Kazakhstan, Colombia, Iceland, Vietnam and Georgia. It is also part of a wider strategy for the group to expand its customer reach and improve its online services in what many see as a bid to reclaim its lost market share in the fashion industry.
Arket joins H&M’s existing brand portfolio, which includes & Other Stories, Cheap Monday, COS, Monki, and Weekday, as well as its flagship H&M brand.
“Arket will offer a broad yet selected range of essentials for men, women and children, as well as a smaller, curated assortment for the home,” he continued. “The overall direction and focus is quality in simple, timeless and functional designs. There will be products in a broad price range, however in a slightly higher price segment than H&M with emphasis on materials, function and fit.”