H&M has been growing globally since its beginning in 1947. The success of this company is mostly due to the taking over of other companies, in other words their acquisitions. These acquisitions allowed what began as just a woman’s clothing store to evolve into a multinational, successful company.
The first store by H&M opens, just called 'Hennis'. It only sells women's clothing and is relatively limited. The founder is Erling Persson, who privately owns the company (sole trader).
Hennes opens another store in Stockholm. It is still a women's store, privately owned by Erling Persson. This shows that the new store was opened through the profits made in the original store and Perssons own savings.
Hennes opens up a new store in Norway, thereby broadening the horizon of the company and adding yet another store.
Erling Persson buys the hunting and fishing equipment store Mauritz Widfors as their first acquisition. By buying this company, Erling Persson receives a large amount of shares in mens clothing, and Hennes starts to sell mens and children's clothing. The name is changed from 'Hennes' to 'Hennes & Mauritz'.
By listing on the stock exchange, Hennes and Mauritz goes from a private company to a public one. This allows people to invest in the company and therefore H&M grows even more.
H&M opens their first store outside of Scandinavia, in London, UK, leading to an even bigger expansion of the network, and marking just the start of the global expansion of H&M.
H&M launched a line of clothing called 'Impuls'. The sale of cosmetics within all stores also begins, marking a new market H&M is coming into.
H&M continues to change globally, and opens numerous stores throughout Germany and The Netherlands in the 1980's. They also acquire the mail ordering company named 'Rowells', allowing them to use catalogue ordering and making the sales cheaper.
Throughout the 1990s, H&M continues to expand throughout Europe, opening stores in France. Advertising begins to grow, in newspapers, magazines, and billboards with famous models.
E-commerce begins, allowing people to buy H&M products over the internet and telephone.
The first H&M store in the USA opens, on Fifth Avenue in New York. This broadens the client range even further, and puts H&M even more on the map. H&M also opens in Spain, going further south in Europe to the more demanding fashion markets.
Imitations of famous collections begin, starting with Karl Lagerfield. This improves sales through giving people high fashion items for less of a high price, and puts H&M in one of the highest fashion markets.
H&M expands their e-commerce in the Netherlands as the first market outside of Scandinavia. They also open stores in the Middle East through Franchise agreements.
H&M opens new stores in Shanghai and Hong Kong, adding a new continent to their global expansion. The expansion of e-commerce also continues into Germany and Austria.
H&M opens yet another store, in Tokyo, Japan. They also acquire the company FaBric Scandinavien AB, giving them access to Weekday, Monki and Cheap Monday.
H&M opens a store in Beijing. They also make Lebanon a franchise market. The H&M Home collection is launched, giving them another industry; home items. Weekday and Monki begin to open throughout Germany.
New stores open up in Turkey and South Korea. Israel becomes a new franchise market, and e-commerce begins throughout the UK. H&M Home begins to open up stores outside of Sweden. Monki opens up in Hong Kong.
New stores spring up in Croatia, Romania and Singapore. Franchise markets in Morocco and Jordan also allow for new stores throughout the Middle East. COS opens in Sweden, and Monki and Cheap Monday in the UK. COS and Monki open up e-commerce throughout 18 countries.
New H&M Stores open in Bulgaria, Latvia, Malaysia and Mexico. Franchise allows them to open in Thailand. COS opens in Hong Kong, Italy, Finland, Poland, Austria and via franchise in Kuwait. Monki opens China and Weekday in The Netherlands.