H&M says will open first store in S. Africa

H&M says will open first store in S. Africa

STOCKHOLM - Swedish cheap'n'chic fashion giant H&M will open its first store in South Africa in 2015, its first foray into sub-Saharan Africa, the company announced on Thursday.

H&M said it had signed a contract for a store in Johannesburg, but it was also looking into opening in Cape Town as well and therefore it could not say

"We're still in the early stages ... but there will be several stores," H&M spokeswoman Camilla Emilsson-Falk told AFP.

The company said it saw great potential in the South African market but refused to disclose any details.

"We see great potential for further expansion in this region. We look forward to bringing fashion and quality at the best price to the customers in South Africa," H&M's chief executive Karl-Johan Persson said in a statement.

The first store that opens will be a full concept flagship store, the company said.

H&M's only other stores on the African continent are in Egypt and Morocco.

The company said it had opened some 100 new stores in the second quarter, bringing its total number of outlets worldwide to 2,908.

Using an average annual exchange rate, H&M remained the biggest clothing company in 2012 with its sales edging out Spanish competitor Inditex, which owns Zara.

But H&M risks losing its number one spot this year to Inditex, which has twice as many stores, is growing faster and is more profitable.

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