H&M are planning to open a new store on Southend High Street. It will be in the old Woolworth’s store, which has been home to TJ Hughes for the last few years.
Woolworths were in the store until December 2008 and TJ Hughes opened in 2012 but trading difficulties caused them to close down in August 2011, just one year after opening. TJ Hughes spent £1 million on the store, but the entire company fell into administration a year later.
The store has been empty for almost a year now, so the arrival of H&M is certainly good news for the town centre. H&M are hoping to be open for business by November 2012, in time for the Christmas shopping period. This will be the third H&M store in Southend, the other 2 being at the top of the High Street and in the Royals Shopping Centre, which is opposite Southend Pier.
It is hoped that the new store will create jobs. 60 jobs were lost when TJ Hughes closed down. However, H&M have not announced if it will need to recruit for the new store.
H&M Profits Boom
H&M have reported good trading results in the last year and seem to be bucking the general trend of poor sales and hard times on the high street. In June 2012 H&M reported soaring profits for the second quarter of 2012, with an increase in profits of 22.5%.
H&M’s new Spring collections were very popular this year which helped to boost its sales, while other high street retailers, such as Marks and Spencer, saw a fall in sales due to less interest in its women’s clothing lines.
275 New Stores
The new Southend-on-Sea store is just one of the 275 new stores that H&M are hoping to open this year. As well as new stores in the UK it is also opening stores in Bulgaria, Mexico, Latvia, Malaysia and Thailand, although China, America and the UK are still likely to see the biggest growth for H&M this year.
H&M is a short for H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB, a Swedish multinational clothing retailer. It was founded in 1947 and now has 2300 stores in 31 countries. It employs around 94000 people globally.