H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) is a Swedish multinational retail-clothing company, known for its fast-fashion clothing for men, women, teenagers and children.
H&M exists in 53 countries and as of 2013 employed around 116,000 people. The first store was opened on the high street of Västerås, Sweden in 1947. It had 2,325 stores at the end of 2011 and 2,629 stores at the end of August 2012. 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 labour, rather than being integrated.
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