Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) is keen to enter India’s home decor and furnishing products industry, a move that will pitch the global fashion retailer against local firms Bombay Dyeing and Fabindia, and its Swedish peer Ikea.

An offshoot of the high-street fashion label, H&M Home sells products such as cushion covers, blankets, curtains and accessories. “We are looking at the home segment and it will be decoration products and not furniture. There are not many players in that category and the product range doesn’t change for years. In the organised sector, our strength will be the latest assortment,” said H&M’s India chief executive Janne Einola.

The company hasn’t decided whether its furnishing-retail foray will be through a standalone format or existing stores would be leveraged to sell new product lines. Globally, H&M Home is mostly present with 362 shop-in-shops and eight standalone stores, in about 50 countries. With annual sales of `1,109 crore in India, H&M, the world’s second-largest clothing firm, has surpassed all apparel brands except Zara in revenue after three years of India operations. The Stockholm-based retailer stocks fast-fashion items created in-house, and teams up with designers for one-time collections.

It keeps a large inventory of basic, everyday items sourced from manufacturers in India and Bangladesh. These items carry lower price tags than those sold by rivals. Foreign single-brand retailers need to meet 30% local sourcing norms to operate their own stores in the country. H&M said India is a large global supplier for home products and if these items are sold locally, the sourcing norms would be met.

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That would give the company significant cost advantages. “A bulk of sourcing for home products globally is from India and we’ll benefit in terms of sourcing, given these will be made in India and sold here too,” added Einola. Rising demand for premium and high-margin home furnishing products has drawn organised players to a segment that is largely unorganized in the country.

Ikea opened its first India-based store in Hyderabad last year,while the JSW group launched its brand Forma in the furniture and furnishings segment a month ago.



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