Made in Ethiopia: Fashion Retailer H&M Looks to Sub-Saharan Africa for Suppliers

H & M (Hennes & Mauritz AB ), a Swedish multinational retail-clothing company with locations in 43 countries, is eyeing Ethiopia as the business looks to expand its global production hubs to Africa. (WSJ)

How We Made It In Africa

January 21st, 2014

Sub-Saharan Africa’s potential to become a global low-end manufacturing destination has come under discussion lately, especially with rising cost pressures in traditional markets such as China.

Swedish-based fashion retailer H&M is one of the latest global companies to experiment with sourcing its products from sub-Saharan African countries. It has placed test orders for garments from Ethiopian and Kenyan suppliers. Retailers such as Tesco and Walmart reportedly already source some products from Ethiopia.

“We are a growing global company and we need to constantly look at how we can ensure that we have the capacity to supply products to all our stores where we have expanded rapidly. We do that as we increase production on existing production markets but also by looking at new ones. This does not mean we will stop buying from existing production markets. We see great potential in Ethiopia, it is a country with a huge development and growth and we see that we can contribute to jobs and reduce the unemployment in the country,” Elin Hallerby, a spokesperson for H&M, told How we made it in Africa via email.

However, she emphasised that the company is still in the early stages of sourcing from Ethiopia.

H&M doesn’t own any factories, but instead works with hundreds of independent suppliers, mainly from European and Asian countries such as Italy, Turkey, Bangladesh and China.

So what does H&M look for in a new supplier?


Swedish Fashion Retailer H&M Looks to Source Clothing From Ethiopia (The Wall Street Journal)

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