Our founder had a vision. Erling Persson wanted to make great fashion available and affordable to everyone and do this in the right way. From a single store in 1947 we became a family of brands offering fashion and design to customers worldwide. This is our story.

The ’40s and ’50s



Inspired by his trip to New York City the year before, Swedish entrepreneur Erling Persson opens a new womenswear store in Västerås, Sweden. He calls it Hennes, Swedish for “Hers”. The soon-to-be-famous Hennes logotype is designed by the founder himself.

The ’40s and ’50s


The first Hennes store opens in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm.


Hennes takes out a full-page colour ad in Sweden’s largest daily, a pioneering belief in the power of marketing.
Inside the first Hennes store in Västerås, Sweden
Inside the first Hennes store in Västerås, Sweden
Inside the first Hennes store in Västerås, Sweden

The ’60s and ’70s



Hennes acquires the Stockholm-based hunting apparel and fishing equipment retailer Mauritz Widforss, and the name is changed to Hennes & Mauritz. The stores start offering men’s and children’s clothing, covering fashion needs for the entire family.


The expansion is rapid: Hennes & Mauritz has 42 stores.


  • – Hennes & Mauritz starts selling underwear.
  • – ABBA-member Anni-Frid Lyngstad becomes the first “supermodel” to be photographed for the company.


  • – Hennes & Mauritz is listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.
  • – The stores are rebranded with the abbreviation “H&M”.


  • – Teenagers get their own version of H&M as the Impuls concept is launched, inspired by denim stores in the US.
  • – H&M introduces cosmetics into its assortment.

The ’80s and ’90s

In the 1980s, the foundation is laid for the upcoming global expansion. New openings include the first H&M stores in Germany and the Netherlands.



Long before the term “e-commerce” was born, sale of H&M fashion moves into customers’ homes through the acquisition of Rowells, the Swedish mail order company.


The company gets its second ever CEO, as Erling Persson steps aside to make room for his son, Stefan Persson.


H&M’s underwear campaigns with Elle Macpherson (left) and Naomi Campbell
H&M’s underwear campaigns with Cindy Crawford (left) and Claudia Schiffer


  • – H&M starts offering online shopping. The first online market is Sweden.
  • – The first H&M store opens in Paris.

The ’00s and ’10s



A major H&M flagship store opens on Fifth Avenue in New York, realising Erling Persson’s dream. The opening of the first store in the US marks the start of the expansion outside Europe.



H&M publishes the first Corporate Social Responsibility Report, marking the beginning of our Sustainability reporting journey.


H&M and Karl Lagerfeld take the world of fashion by surprise, teaming up to show that design isn’t a question of price 


Viktor & Rolf ♡ H&M
M by Madonna
Roberto Cavalli at H&M
Versace for H&M
Alexander Wang x H&M
Kenzo x H&M
Naomi Campbell, Moschino x H&M


  • – H&M goes Far East, opening the first stores in Shanghai and Hong Kong SAR.
  • – Marking 60 years after the first Hennes store opened, our first portfolio brand COS is born. The honour of hosting the first store goes to London.



Weekday, Monki, and Cheap Monday are welcomed to the H&M group through the purchase of FaBric Scandinavien AB.



– Home styling becomes more fun thanks to the launch of H&M HOME.



– Karl-Johan Persson, Erling Persson’s grandson, takes over as CEO.





  • – H&M enters the high fashion arena with the very first H&M Studio show during Paris Fashion Week. The limited-edition collections are released biannually.
  • H&M Foundation starts as a non-profit global foundation, funded by the Stefan Persson family.
  • Garment collecting is introduced in H&M stores worldwide. Since then, thousands of tons of old textiles have been collected for reuse and recycling.
  • – H&M Group launches yet another brand: & Other Stories, with design studios in Stockholm, Paris and Los Angeles.




  • – H&M Foundation launches The Global Change Award. The GCA is a challenge designed to spur innovations that can accelerate the shift from a linear to a circular fashion industry.
  • H&M Beauty concept launches.




The new brand ARKET, created as a modern-day market offering a broad yet selected range of functional and timeless essentials, opens its first physical store on Regent Street in London, and online in 18 European markets.



The new brand Afound opens its first stores in Sweden and online. Afound is a new marketplace with discounted fashion and lifestyle products from the brands within the H&M Group, but also other popular brands. 



  • – H&M became the first big fashion brand in the world to provide detailed information on product level about materials and the supply chain.
  • – H&M Group increased its ownership in Sellpy, an e-commerce platform for second-hand items. H&M Group is now the main owner.




The ’20s and onwards



After more than 20 years as chair of the board, Stefan Persson handed over to the third generation and Karl-Johan Persson is elected chair. Helena Helmersson became the new CEO.




  • – New business ventures Singular Society and Creator Studio are launched.
  • – H&M Innovation Stories was launched and comprises a series of themed collections dedicated to promoting more sustainable materials, technologies, and production processes. The project goes hand-in-hand with H&M’s fashion rental service, established in 2019.



  • – H&M Group introduced the latest climate targets to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions across the value chain by 56% by 2030, and by 90% by 2040, and in the same year achieve net-zero.
  • – H&M Group integrated the annual and sustainability reports for the first time, as an important yet natural step in our development.

  • – The newest H&M sports brand H&M Move was launched worldwide.


  • – H&M Group and Remondis created Looper Textile Co., a joint venture to collect, sort and sell used and unwanted garments and textiles.







  • – Daniel Ervér, formerly the CEO of H&M brand, became President and CEO of H&M Group, taking over from Helena Helmersson.