& Other Stories Strategy: What is Behind H&M fashion-lifestyle brand?

  • BRAND FOCUS, Fashion blog
  • 4 min read
  • 14 May 2021
& Other Stories Strategy: What is Behind H&M fashion-lifestyle brand?

Key Takeaways

&Other Stories’ strategy is quite similar to Massimo Dutti, Inditex’s premium brand, in terms of pricing and assortment mix

The brand’s response to the COVID-19 crisis was to reduce the volume of new articles in 2021 drastically

 Sustainable collections in 2021 at & Other Stories account for more than 20% of its assortment — much higher than 17% at Zara

 

As one of the top movers and shakers that shape the fashion industry, Sweden’s H&M Group is an influential force. Best known for its namesake brand, the company comprises several brands, each with its own distinct DNA.


In 2013, H&M Group launched a fashion lifestyle brand that continues to inspire fashionistas from all over the world: & Other Stories
One aspect that makes &Other Stories distinct is that it encompasses three different creative studio locations: Los Angeles, Paris, and Stockholm. These locations have their own unique style and inspiration, making &Other Stories unique, with a special flair for the wearer to make their own clothes. 

What else makes the Swedish brand different from its competitors? Let’s dive into &Other Stories’ strategy. 

 

 

  • Accessories and Shoes Are a MUST at &Other Stories

H&M Group describes &Other Stories this way: “&Other Stories offers a wide range of shoes, bags, accessories, beauty products, stationery and ready-to-wear for women.” The assortment mix of the brand places a higher emphasis on accessories and shoes compared with competitors like Zara and Mango

 

 

It is noteworthy that &Other Stories’ assortment mix is quite similar to Inditex’s premium brand, Massimo Dutti. The only major difference is that the Swedish brand only offers womenswear, while Massimo Dutti has diversified its offerings to include all genders. 

 

 

  • & Other Stories Leans Into More Sustainable, Eco-friendly Practices

According to Retviews data, more than a fifth of &Other Stories‘ assortment is included in its sustainable collection, mirroring the assortment share at Massimo Dutti. 

 

 

Moreover, as part of H&M Group, &Other Stories is emphasizing sustainability with these collections. Should we expect a higher share in 2022? 

 

 

Sustainability is still a challenging topic, and what is included in sustainable collections is left to the discretion of each company. You can find out more about this topic in Retviews’ sustainability report

 

  • Pricing closer to sister brand, COS

According to H&M Group and &Other Stories statements, the price position of the young brand is between H&M and COS.

However, Retviews found some price discrepancies. &Other Stories is much closer to COS’ price level than H&M’s, whether the focus is on the most frequent price or average price. 

 

 

One question arises: Is this strategy really beneficial for both brands? With no clear difference in price positioning and similar pricing to its competitors, what distinguishes &Other Stories from its sister brands and competitors? 

 

 

  • Impact of Covid-19 on New Arrivals and Discounts

Covid-19 spared no one. H&M Group managed to get through the crisis without losing some ground. When it comes to &Other Stories, the crisis’s impacts are visible on the new arrivals. 

Indeed, the Swedish brand’s new arrivals volumes in 2020 were similar to Zara’s. Were sales at &Other Stories similar to numbers seen at Zara

 

 

Besides, only H&M Group knows those figures, but what is visible is that there has been a big drop in incomings in 2021 compared with last year. Could one of the reasons behind &Other Stories’ strategy be a massive amount of unsold product? 

 

 

Thanks to Retviews data, all signs point to no. Indeed, when looking at the level of discounts and the average discount rate, &Other Stories is way below its market level. It either means that the Swedish brand did not have underperforming articles, or that &Other Stories’ strategy was to avoid the extra costs of reduction, which affected its results. 

 

 

 

  • Are There Opportunities for Development at & Other Stories? 

&Other Stories has great styling, and its offerings in terms of beauty, accessories, and lifestyle products make it stand out compared with its competitors — especially if it’s selling third-party brands as well. The specificity of the Swedish brand comes from its core business and positioning in terms of lifestyle. 

However, from a pricing and assortment-mix perspective, there are good opportunities for &Other Stories’ strategy to distinguish itself further and to produce winning products in the future. 

Will &Other Stories come out of the Covid-19 crisis stronger than ever? Time will tell.

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