It seems consumers might be getting tired of Fast Fashion. H&M, one of the largest purveyors of cheap knock-offs inspired by runway looks, has been in a slump. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the brand experienced a sales decrease of 4%. For the full year, operational profit went down 14%, its largest decline in six years.
In response, H&M is rethinking its strategy. It is shuttering the largest number of stores in its history. It will close 170, even as it opens 390. This means it will open a net 220 stores in 2018, which is a significant slowdown in growth for a brand that has been growing like gangbusters for decades.
This shift signals that consumers are increasingly shopping online, rather than in stores. But it might also indicate that consumers’ tastes are changing. They are less interested in cheap, disposable clothing, and are more interested in higher quality, seasonless pieces designed to last. This might be why brands like Everlane and Cuyana, which encourage consumers to buy fewer but better things, are now growing fast.