Looking back at 2023

Helena Helmersson, former CEO H&M Group

Before summing up 2023 I would like to start by saying that after four intensive years as CEO of H&M Group, I decided to step down from my role as CEO at the end of January 2024. Following my decision the board of directors appointed Daniel Ervér as the group’s new CEO. I hand over to Daniel feeling confident that, along with all our colleagues, he will ensure that the company will continue to take steps toward our goals and develop H&M Group’s brands and business models. With strong leadership and a broad understanding of the business, Daniel is a good role model for our values and our ability to create customer value. 


In 2023 we continued to see an uncertain world with geopolitical and macroeconomic challenges. Despite this, we made progress in all our growth areas and took further steps towards our long-term goals. Our continued focus on cost control and profitability resulted in strong cash flow. We continued to invest in the customer offering and the shopping experience for all our unique brands in order to meet our customers’ needs and exceed their expectations.  

We drove further improvements in the supply chain, the cost and efficiency programme was implemented and the external factors that influence purchasing costs increasingly returned to normal. All this led to a stronger gross margin.  

Our Portfolio Brands – COS, Monki, Weekday, & Other Stories and ARKET – continued to develop well. Sales at COS, ARKET and Weekday developed particularly strongly over the year, and these brands are contributing more and more to the group’s profitability development.  

Thanks to our focus on cost control, profitability and increased inventory productivity, cash flow improved and is financing greater reinvestment in the business – above all, within our store portfolio and supply chain.  

2023 was another year that for many consumers was marked by lower purchasing power because of high inflation and high interest rates. Despite this, our net sales in comparable markets increased in relation to 2022. In a situation of high inflation where household living costs are rising significantly it has been more important than ever to offer customers the best value for money. 

Despite challenges in the world around us, H&M Group stands on robust foundations. Our focus is on creating further conditions for increased sales, for example through our increased initiatives in respect of the store portfolio and the supply chain. This is an important component for achieving our long-term goals. We are fully focused on H&M and are continually developing the brand, the customer offering and the shopping experience while at the same time integrating the channels further.  

Since we temporarily closed our stores in Ukraine in February 2022 we have maintained a close dialogue with various stakeholders. In November 2023 we were able to gradually reopen most of our stores in the country.  

Stronger customer offering and customer experience  

We offer fashion that makes it possible for everyone to express their personal style, since our business concept is to offer the best combination of fashion, quality, price and sustainability. Speed and flexibility continue to be important going forward, particularly in the supply chain, for the purpose of securing a broad assortment and increasing availability in all channels. Our initiatives in areas such as tech and AI are a significant factor in our work to always have the right product in the right place at the right time and at the right price. Combined with more efficient processes this increases our precision and thereby contributes to more sustainable use of resources.  

Through our continued initiatives to integrate the two channels we are ensuring both good product availability and a convenient customer experience, so that customers can meet us when, where and how they wish. In our digital store we are constantly testing ways to make the shopping experience even more inspiring. Many of the things we are testing to elevate and upgrade the presentation of our products are now being gradually rolled out to more markets in 2024.  

The physical stores continue to be incredibly important and in 2024 we are stepping up the pace of investment in the existing stores to further elevate the shopping experience. We are ensuring that we have the right store with the right format in the right place. Our stores, which are in prime locations, are a major asset where we meet our customers every day. Customers appreciate this accessibility and being able to try on clothes and be inspired.  

The store portfolio has now reached a level where there will be fewer closures going forward while at the same time new stores will be opened. For 2024 we plan to open around 100 new stores and to close around 160. Despite resulting in a net decrease of around 60 stores, the changes in the portfolio will start to make a positive contribution to H&M Group’s sales. 

Further steps towards our climate goals  

Our investments in innovation mean we are taking important steps on our journey towards circularity. We are continually working to develop our business model in order to add profitable growth while at the same time reducing our energy consumption, increasing the percentage of renewable energy and reducing our climate footprint, so that we can contribute to a more sustainable fashion industry. For example, we continued to increase the percentage of recycled or sustainably sourced materials in the collections, reaching a level of 85 percent in 2023. Our goal is for 100 percent of our materials to be made from recycled or sustainably sourced materials by 2030.  

Our sustainability initiatives also provide the group with long- term business opportunities. By building strategic partnerships with important actors and creating growth through various innovative methods, such as circular business models, we can continue to give our customers unbeatable value and enable them to have a more sustainable lifestyle.  

In addition to our investments, we provide financial support to projects that contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions throughout the value chain. Our climate goals are set high and results show that we reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 22 percent in 2023. This takes us even closer to our science-based targets that include a 56 percent reduction1 in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 – being among the most ambitious in our industry.  

For the twelfth year in a row H&M Group has been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and the Dow Jones Sustainability Europe Index. H&M Group scored best-in-class in several areas including human rights, climate strategy, greenhouse gas emissions and materiality analysis.  

Allocation to HIP  

I am very proud of what we have achieved together and I am deeply impressed by the strong passion, teamwork and entrepreneurial spirit shown by all our colleagues. I would like to thank all our colleagues throughout H&M Group for fantastic commitment over the past year. Our strong culture with our shared values has been an important factor in our ability to drive improvements within the business.  

It is pleasing to note that the increase in full-year profits means we can allocate a further SEK 177 million to the H&M Incentive Program, for all H&M group employees.  


Despite the uncertainties in the world around us, H&M Group stands strong with a robust financial position, strong cash flow and improved profitability. Our financial strength and long-term perspective enable us to continue to develop the customer offering in order to deliver unbeatable value to our customers. We are closely monitoring the geopolitical developments in the world around us and how these affect our operations. In the current situation we are taking measures to minimise impact on the company’s product availability, freight costs and stock levels.  

With a strong customer focus, committed colleagues and an increased pace of investment we see good conditions for continued profitable and sustainable growth in 2024.

Helena Helmersson

Former CEO H&M Group up to 31 January 2024

1) Refers to science-based targets for own operations (scope 1 and 2) and for the company’s entire value chain (scope 3) and excludes the use of sold products. The baseline is 2019.