H&M to launch Cos this month

Nov 15

H&M will bring a fourth chain, Cos, to Japan this month. Cos is a completely different target market from H&M, Weekday and Monki, however, with higher price points and a combination of quality design and yet still accessible prices that could spell trouble for department store brands from Japanese apparel firms.

H&M Japan will open the first Japanese store for its upscale fashion chain Cos this month. The first store will open 8 November in Minami Aoyama’s Miyuki Dori, offering the full line of womenswear, menswear and children’s clothing. Cos, which stands for Collection of Style, is a much more upmarket brand than the others in the H&M stable, but still with reasonable prices. It aims to offer modern, functional, almost minimalist clothing in high quality fabrics and timeless designs. Launched in 2007 in London’s Regent Street, the chain has grown to more than 90 stores worldwide, including 11 stores in Asian countries such as China, Singapore and South Korea, with online sales to 19 countries as well. Sales are reported to have risen around 30% a year since launch.

Prices in Japan will be around ¥7,000-50,000 for dresses, ¥2,300-16,000 for tops, and ¥6,500-13,000 for skirts. Accessories will include shoes starting at ¥6,500 and bags from ¥3,500 up to around ¥28,000. In menswear, jackets will range between ¥25,000-30,000 and tops for ¥2,300-16,000.

Given the price points, quality, and design, Cos looks like being a threat to local businesses operating department store brands with less optimal price/value such as Onward, World, Sanyo Shokai and Itokin in particular. Just as H&M itself has radically transformed the local market for young women’s fashions, especially its impact on young womenswear SPA chains and shopping buildings like 109, so Cos is likely to put pressure on these apparel groups, as well as other mid-priced contemporary fashion brands.