We love any excuse to spend a couple of hours perusing the style aisles at H&M, so when the news broke that the Swedish fast-fashion giant was launching a new brand called ARKET in London on Friday 25th August, needless to stay, the fashionista’s at Magpie HQ were very happy!
ARKET is a modern-day market offering essential products for men, women, children and the home. Its mission is to democratise quality through widely accessible, well-made, durable products designed to be used and loved for a long time. The collections are composed of ARKET’s own products alongside a selection of the best examples from other brands. The Regent Street location includes an ARKET café based on the New Nordic Food Manifesto.
The store will sell ARKET’s own products alongside a selection of items from non-H&M brands. ARKET’s products will be priced slightly higher than that of the group’s core H&M brand, with men’s shirts, for example, starting at €39, stretching up to €115.
And the good news is, customers who sign up to the mailing list on arket.com can access the online store on 23rd August, two days before the official launch, and can shop at a reduced rate for a limited period.
‘We’re very excited to launch on the 25th and reveal ARKET to the public. We’ve been working towards this day for over two years, and look forward to finally meeting our first customers in London as well as throughout Europe online,’ says Lars Axelsson, Managing Director.”We really believe it’s relevant to a modern customer to bring different brands together — under one roof, under one channel — and to make that choice for them and also make it more convenient,” says Ulrika Bernhardtz, ARKET’s Creative Director.
The new brand will simultaneously start trading online in 18 European countries, with additional stores to follow in Brussels, Copenhagen and Munich. In addition to its phonetic link to “market,” the name ARKET means “sheet of paper” in Swedish. “It both relates to our origin in the Nordic tradition of functional, long-lasting design and symbolises the blank sheet, the sense of optimism and possibility we felt creating this new brand,” added Bernhardtz.
“The brand DNA is timeless, crisp, quality and warmth,” Bernhardtz continued. “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.”
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.
“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,” says Lars Axelsson, Arket’s managing director. “Today the customer is very busy. They are looking for convenience, but also a place that they can really enjoy.”
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.
The company has recently announced its first quarter financial results. Group sales for the first quarter of its financial year rose by 7 percent to 5.4 billion Swedish crowns (about $6 billion). However, pre-tax profits fell to 3.2 billion Swedish crowns from last year’s first quarter figure of 3.33 billion, due to lower sales growth as well as higher mark downs.
.ARKET will launch Friday 25th August with their first store at 224 Regent Street in London, and online on arket.com in 18 European markets.
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