UPDATE 1-H&M to launch new concept stores in Spring

STOCKHOLM Wed Jan 9, 2013 3:02am EST

STOCKHOLM Jan 9 (Reuters) - World number two fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz will launch an eagerly-awaited new chain of stores targeting women shoppers in the Spring, it said on Wednesday.

The new stores, to be called "& Other Stories" will offer clothes, shoes, bags and accessories in Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, London, Milan, Paris and Stockholm initially.

H&M will also sell the collection online in a further three markets.

Spokeswoman Elke Kieft declined to say where the first store would be located or when it would open.

The Swedish firm is hoping new chains will broaden its appeal and customer base and help it catch up with arch-rival Inditex, the world's biggest fashion retailer.

Inditex already has eight separate store concepts to entice different customer segments to splash their cash compared with H&M's upmarket Collection of Style (COS), and a small number of Monki and Weekday stores.

Analysts say H&M can still expand its core brand, which is growing in Europe, North America and Asia, while it is also mulling stores in the southern hemisphere.

But it will get harder to achieve the 10-15 percent yearly expansion in stores H&M aims for, and it makes sense to spread the risk by adding more upmarket chains alongside its COS stores, analysts say.

Kieft said the new stores would have a wide range of styles and prices.

"It varies from, for example, flipflops for 7 euros to leather boots for 225 euros ($290)," she said.

"A fabric bag could be 50 euros but we will have bags for around 200 euros as well, and everything in between."

The "& Other Stories" stores will also sell clothes and other accessories.

"Its our aim to be a one-stop styling destination," Kieft said. "Beauty is going to be important as well. So there will be a wide range of colour cosmetics."

($1 = 0.7654 euros) (Reporting by Veronica Ek and Simon Johnson; Editing by Mark Potter)

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