PARIS — Reinforcing its bet on the secondhand market, H&M Group has taken a majority stake in Swedish retailer Sellpy with plans to expand it internationally, starting with Germany.
The fast-fashion retail giant, which first took a minority holding in the secondhand seller in 2015, has now become majority owner with a stake of around 70 percent.
The move comes as changing shopping habits and rising demands for more consideration of the environment force the fashion industry to readjust decades-old business models. H&M last year made public plans to use only recycled or other so-called sustainably sourced materials by 2030, and only sustainable cotton by 2020 — even if it doesn’t know how it will get there.
Fast-fashion players, known for churning out inexpensive clothing at breakneck speed, are under particular scrutiny for their part in choking landfills with discarded clothing.
“Secondhand is one of the fastest-growing business sectors within the fashion industry….It is a business opportunity H&M Group wants to be a part of exploring,” the company said.
Sellpy, which sells everything from Zara coats to Iittala candle-holders online, was founded in 2014 and is gearing up to expand in Germany, its first market outside of Sweden.
“With the support of H&M Group we can continue to innovate and drive awareness and adoption of re-commerce,” said Michael Annör, chief executive officer of Sellpy.
H&M initially invested 50 million Swedish kronor, or $5 million, in the company, and recently plugged in an additional $13 million, with plans for $6 million more in the next few years, raising its stake to around 74 percent.
H&M is undergoing a broad overhaul, investing in high-tech logistics, sprucing up its stores and overhauling customer services.