H&M's brand COS to test clothing rentals in China with YCloset

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - H&M HMb.ST, the world's second-biggest fashion group, said on Friday its brand COS had teamed up with Chinese subscription rental platform YCloset to try renting out clothes in the country as environmentally conscious consumers rein in purchases.

With the three-month trial, H&M follows others in the fashion industry, such as Banana Republic of Gap Inc. GPS.N and Bloomingdale's M.N, that are lending out their clothing for a monthly rental rate as consumers become increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of fast fashion.

H&M last week launched its first-ever in-house rental service of a limited range of festive gowns, with a fee per item, alongside the opening of a revamped central Stockholm store in Sweden.

H&M has in recent years launched a number of independent brands such as COS and Arket, although its core budget H&M chain still accounts for the bulk of revenues.

It said in a statement that the higher-end COS brand’s trial with YCloset would allow it to explore customer demand, the business model, potential to scale and sustainability factors.

“Subscription rental has been on our radar for some time and we feel this is a very relevant model for us to explore,” it said.

“It is important for us to try new approaches - testing and collaborating to achieve the best outcome for our customer and community - as well as the future of our business,” COS managing director Marie Honda said in the statement.

H&M said YCloset is China’s largest fashion rental platform with 15 million registered users. Users pay a monthly subscription rather than a per item fee and are able to buy the clothing after they have rented it.

Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle