H&M Hennes & Mauritz

PARIS — Hennes & Mauritz AB has teamed up with payment technology company Klarna as it scrambles to outfit its sprawling network of stores around the world to meet consumer demand for easier shopping in an e-commerce era.

The Swedish fast-fashion retailer said the companies plan to introduce Klarna payment methods in 14 markets, beginning with the U.K. and Sweden, starting in 2019. H&M also intends to invest in the technology company itself, but did not provide financial details of the plan.

“This partnership will bring tailor-made payment solutions to our customers and accommodate evolving shopping patterns and needs. This includes the possibility to ‘try before you buy,’ which is very relevant to online fashion retail today, and to pay with mobile phone directly through the H&M app, both in store and online,” Daniel Claesson, head of business development at H&M group, said in a statement.

The retailer will rely on Klarna for payments in stores or through mobile or online channels, as well as for simplifying deliveries and returns. The company will also manage H&M’s digital loyalty program, H&M Club.

With a broadened online offer available to consumers — who are increasingly pressed for time — retailers find themselves battling for shoppers’ attention and forced to improve their services to ensure relevancy in a competitive landscape.

“Customers will no longer be forgiving of unnecessary complexity or when their retail experience does not leverage the insight available to make their engagement smart, personal and easy,” Sebastian Siemiatkowski, chief executive officer and cofounder of Klarna.

Klarna, which was founded in 2005 in Stockholm, describes itself as one of Europe’s largest banks. Financial backers of the Columbus, Ohio-based company include investment companies Sequoia Capital, Atomico and Permira, as well as financial services company Visa and the fashion group Bestseller.

“We will work together to elevate the modern shopping experience,” said H&M ceo Karl-Johan Persson.

H&M is undergoing a broad overhaul as it seeks to improve the speed of its supply chains and improve in-store experiences at its vast network of stores, after struggling under the weight of unsold stocks of clothing.

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