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How Did H&M Get Its Name?

Updated May 16, 2024
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The Swedish retailer H&M is one of the most widely recognized fast fashion brands in the industry. There are thousands of H&M stores in dozens of countries, but have you ever wondered what the clothing retailer's initials actually stand for?

H&M was founded in 1947 as Hennes (Swedish for “hers”) by Erling Persson. At the time, it was primarily a women’s clothing shop. It wasn’t until 21 years later that Hennes acquired another brand, Mauritz Widforss, a retailer that sold hunting and fishing equipment. Around this time, Erling Persson decided to start selling men's and children’s fashion as well as outdoor equipment. He also changed the name of the stores to Hennes & Mauritz, which was shortened to H&M in 1974, when the company was first listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. These days, H&M ranks second as the largest international clothing retailer, after Inditex. There are over 4,000 H&M stores in over 70 countries around the world.

From Hennes to H&M:

  • H&M has collaborated with numerous celebrities and well-known brands over the years. Anni-Frid Lyngstad, a member of ABBA, was the first “model” to be photographed for the company in 1973. Other famous pairings include collaborations with Madonna, Roberto Cavalli, and Versace.

  • The first H&M store outside of Scandinavia opened in London in 1976. It wasn’t until 2000 that the United States got its first H&M store, on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

  • In 1998, H&M began to offer online shopping for the first time.

  • The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic hit H&M stores hard, leading to the closure of 250 stores across the globe.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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