H&M stands for Hennes & Mauritz, but it took several years until the final name evolved. The company was founded by Erling Pedersson, who opened his first fashion retail store in 1947 in Västerås, Sweden. At that time, it was called Hennes, which is the Swedish word for "hers". As the name suggests, this retail format specialized in women’s fashion. After acquiring the hunting apparel and equipment retailer Mauritz Wildforss, the company name was changed to Hennes & Mauritz and men’s fashion was included in the product range.
In 2018, the group’s total sales amounted to around 23 billion U.S. dollars, of which roughly 928 million U.S. dollars were generated in Sweden. This is the highest sales value achieved by the group in the Nordic region. The highest revenue generated in a single country amounted to 3.6 billion U.S. dollars in Germany, ahead of the United States, where the H&M Group gained a total of 2.7 billion U.S. dollars.
The H&M Group is continuously growing and counted a total of 5,076 stores worldwide in 2019. The three countries with the highest number of stores are the United States, China and Germany.
The brand with the most physical stores is H&M. It is present on 71 markets, while its online business is established in more than 47 countries. COS stores reach 41 markets; Monki has conquered 16 markets with brick and mortar stores, and 19 markets its online shops.