H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (operating as H&M) is a Swedish retail-clothing company, known for its fast-fashion clothing offerings for women, men, teenagers and children.
It has over 2,300 stores in 43 countries and as of 2011 employed around 87,000 people.It is ranked the second largest global clothing retailer, just behind Spain-based Inditex (parent company of ZARA), and leads over third largest global clothing retailer, United States based GAP Inc.
The design team in the company’s Sweden office controls the steps of production from merchandise planning to establishing specifications, and production is outsourced to approximately 800 factories in Europe and Asia. These facilities are used for horizontal division of labor rather than being integrated.
The company was established in 1947 by Erling Persson in Västerås, Sweden. At the time it only sold women's clothing and was called Hennes, Swedish for "hers".
In 1968, Persson acquired the premises and inventory of a Stockholm hunting-equipment store, Mauritz Widforss. Included in the inventory was a supply of men's clothing, prompting Persson to expand into menswear. Accordingly, he renamed the store Hennes & Mauritz, later abbreviated to H&M.
Erling's son Stefan became chief executive officer in 1990 and chairman of the board in 1998.
Today, the majority of the clothing is manufactured in Asia including Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Pakistan and Turkey. – less