Swedish company Hennes and Mauritz wants to expand its business in both new and existing markets in 2009.

All in all, the company plans to open an additional 225 new stores. It also plans to open 15 Weekday and Monki stores as well as eight COS stores. Most of the openings will take place in the USA, France, Italy, Spain, UK und Germany.

In addition, H&M recently signed an agreement to open its first store in South Korea. The store will be located in lucrative Myungdong in Seoul and is scheduled to open during the spring of 2010. The sales surface will be approximately 2,600 sq. meters. Negotiations are currently underway for additional store contracts in the Seoul area.

“We look forward to establishing in South Korea. We have positive experiences from our establishments in Japan, Hong Kong and China, and see South Korea as a natural consecutive step,” says Rolf Eriksen, CEO H&M, who is due to retire this year. “South Korea has 49 million inhabitants, of which 23 million in the Seoul area, with a great interest in fashion and purchasing power.”

Karl-Johan Persson, appointed as Eriksen’s successor, has had an operational role within H&M since 2005 and is today Head of Expansion, Business Development and Brand and New Business. Persson assumes the CEO position in Jul. 1, 2009.

—Melanie Gropler

Photo by Rafael Vargas